600 foster children throughout the Upstate get toys from Santa Workshop in Greenville County

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Greenville County Foster Parent Association created a full blown Santa Workshop, filled with gifts for 600 foster children living throughout the Upstate, at Greenville’s Merovan Center.

Foster families can pick up their gifts:

  • Thursday, December 12th from 5-8 pm
  • Friday, December 13th from 5-8 pm
  • Saturday, December 14th from 10am-1pm

Foster parents, Missy Hoffman and Joe Funderburk, said they joined the association as a way to help out not only the foster families but the children.

The association has hosted this workshop for several years. The goal is to make sure as many foster children as possible have a Christmas filled with gifts.

“We begin working with the Department of Social Services in Greenville County in July,” Funderburk said.

He’s been a foster father for more than two years and said DSS helped each child create a Christmas Wish List.

The association has nearly 114 donors. Some of the major donors UCB Bank, Carter’s and Upstate Vet have added to the rest of the community’s help to fullfill each child’s list.

The workshop has gifts covered across the Upstate Region: Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union counties.

Thousands of dollars in gifts have been organized into plastic bags, black so kids can’t see what’s in them, for families to pick up.

“Totally overwhelming, the generosity of people that walk in, and you know, they spent $500 on a child that they don’t know,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman has been a foster mother for more than 12 years. She’s cared for more than 20 children and said this is one of the best part of the holidays.

Both parents agreed, the primary focus is to help every foster child in the Upstate that they possibly can. While that’s somewhat of an attainable goal, it’s also something that’s not easy or cheap.

“Outfitting a child is very expensive even if you have the most means available to you. I mean a pack of underwear, these days, costs $15. So, having things like pajamas over here or books to sit in the rocking chair and snuggle is just a really-gift,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman added that people don’t realize there are currently more than 600 children in foster care in Greenville County.

She explained that just in the Upstate alone, 250 Greenville County children are sent throughout the state because there aren’t enough foster families in Greenville county.

“Keeping them away from their biological families. Having our DSS caseworkers drive all over the state. It’s a problem and we need to fix it,” Hoffman said.

“We’ll always except donations of time of money. The biggest area of need is licensed homes in the upstate. So becoming a, or considering to become a licensed foster family is the way that people can help the most,” Fundburk said.

For more information about the foster care system, the Greenville County Foster Parent Association suggests clicking here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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