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Hope for the Holidays Campaign Success

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Mary Louise Madigan: (216) 698-2521, MLMadigan@cuyahogacounty.us 
Lorin Hancock: (216) 881-4574, Lorin.Hancock@jfs.ohio.gov 

Record Number of Cuyahoga County Children and Families Receive Toys, Bikes, and Gifts During Hope for the Holidays

-- A record number of local children and families will receive new toys, bicycles and personalized gifts during Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Service’s (DCFS) annual Hope for the Holidays campaign. The campaign benefits children in foster care and kinship care, plus families that need extra help.

“Our Hope for the Holidays campaign is all about making the season a little brighter for families and children that are going through tough times,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “We’ve been with these families and children through the challenges; it is so rewarding that we can also be there to help celebrate.”

Hope for the Holidays events and activities are possible thanks to donations from individuals, families, churches, schools and businesses. Community partners also provide essential support by organizing fundraising efforts and toy drives.

“Every year our community steps up to help those less fortunate. But this year, the outpouring of support has been unprecedented,” said DCFS Director Cynthia Weiskittel. “Thanks to generous individual donations and incredible support from local partners, we’re able to spread holiday cheer to more children and families than ever before.”

On Dec. 15, more than 600 children and foster parents are invited to a holiday party where they can choose gifts for themselves or a sibling: each child leaves with a new toy, a game or puzzle and a book. During the party, children may also take a picture with Santa, enjoy cookies and milk, and make a holiday craft.

The next day, volunteers with non-profit group Together We Rise will assemble 167 new bicycles for children in county custody.

More than 250 families in need will also receive gifts through DCFS’ ‘adopt a family’ program. Each family is matched to a donor, who then purchases individualized gifts based on each child’s age and interests.

To protect the privacy and safety of children in foster care we cannot allow media to photograph or film children’s faces during Hope for the Holidays events. Interested media must acknowledge and respect this policy. Staff will be on-hand to assist, answer specific questions and identify any families who may be exempt from this policy.

Media interested in attending should contact Lorin Hancock, Lorin.Hancock@jfs.ohio.gov.