‘Angel’ program aims to help children in foster care

Family and Children’s Services is asking for help in making this Christmas special for children in need.
The “Adopt an Angel” program, launched last Thursday morning at the SAAN store here, allows people to purchase Christmas gifts for children in foster care across Rainy River District.
“To my knowledge, it’s brand new,” said Jacquee Savage, a family service worker at Family and Children’s Services here. “We thought we’d try it out and see how it goes.”
About 70 paper angel tree ornaments—each representing a child in foster care in the district, or one who is receiving services from FACS—are hanging on a Christmas tree at the entrance to SAAN.
“They’ve been really gracious in letting us set up our tree there,” Savage said.
Each ornament bears a child’s first name, his or her age, and suggestions for a Christmas gift. For ornaments that do not have gift ideas on them, FACS asks that you look for an age-appropriate toy, pajamas, or winter hat, mittens, or scarf.
A person who wants to “adopt an angel” can choose one from the tree, select a gift for that child, and take both the gift and the ornament to a cashier, who will ring in the purchase and put the gift in a bag along with the angel.
The bags will be picked up weekly by FACS.
“People don’t have to spend more than $20,” Savage said. “It’s just a little extra for the children for Christmas time.”
She noted FACS does provide some money to families for buying Christmas gifts, but “with cutbacks, we’re not able to issue as much money as we’d like to,” she explained.
As well, Fort Frances High School student Laura Chabot will be fundraising for the program at school.
She will be passing out pledge forms to encourage other students to raise money for the “Adopt and Angel” program. The student who raises the most will receive a $50 gift certificate from M&S Bootery.
Chabot, currently doing a co-op placement at FACS, is hoping to raise enough money to buy gifts for the children whose angels are not “adopted.”
“But our big hope is there will be no angels left on the tree,” Savage said.
If all the angels are adopted, the money raised by Fort High students will buy extra gifts for the children.
There currently are 54 children in Rainy River District in foster care. The additional names on the tree are for children whose families could use some extra help at Christmas time, Savage said.
You can “adopt an angel” at SAAN until Dec. 22. If you would like to donate directly, call Chabot at 274-7787, ext. 236.