Jeff Zimmerman, Foster Region 7 Coordinator for Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, recently gave a Zoom presentation to Foster Grandparents. His presentation, the thought of homeless children and the coming of Christmas, touched the hearts of those Foster Grandparents and they sprang into action.
Those talented in stitchery sewed up masks, blankets, and purses; others, who had a knack for knitting, created hats and mittens. To the stores they sprang for personal care items like toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant and shampoos. To keep the children warm, socks, slipper socks, gloves, scarves, and earmuffs were purchased.
To help the children succeed in school, tables, construction paper, pencils, sharpeners, backpacks and crayons were purchased. But grandparents being grandparents, and Christmas just around the corner, they made bubbles, toys, puzzles, candy and the like appear in their shopping carts. The total in all was 607 items, which were then donated with care.
“On Downer, on Blixen, on Comet, on Cupid, on Foster Grandparent, may the children have a Merry Christmas and to all a good night,” a Foster Grandparent jingled, in a recent press release.
Foster Grandparents, in a typical year, serve children in local schools and Head Starts through mentoring, tutoring, and just doing the kind of things grandparents do. They are a listening ear to a hurting child and a cheerleader to a struggling student; they are a coach to guide a youngster to a better way.
Foster Grandparents make history come alive, as they impart their experiences with party lines, drive-ins, watching a snowy black and white TV to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, wearing dresses made from grain sacks, or curling their hair with rags.
Unfortunately, with COVID, this is not a typical year. The Foster Grandparents, who can, work with the children remotely over the Internet. Others package food bags, and make up art kits and library kits for the children as they await the day that they are back in school, with “their” kids who they miss.
To find out more about the Foster Grandparent Program, call (570) 265-6121 or toll free to 1-800-982-4346.
The Corporation of National Community Service federally funds the Foster Grandparent Program. The Foster Grandparent Program is sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging for Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Tioga counties.
For additional information on Area Agency on Aging services, call 1-800-982-4346.