Move over Santa Claus, generous donors are fulfilling holiday wishes for foster kids in the Upstate


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate organization is making sure every foster child has a gift to unwrap on Christmas morning.

On Friday, 7News was there when the Greenville County Foster Parent Association opened its warehouse for the annual “Christmas Wish List” pick-up.

“I have 64 cousins – first cousins! So I’ve always dealt with children,” Wanda Thompson, a foster parent, told 7News.

Since she was little, Thompson loved caring for her big family. She says she had plenty of love to share, so she decided to open her home to children who can’t live with their biological families.

“How many kids have you fostered in those 12 years?” Asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman.

“About 26!” Thompson said.

Joe Funderburk, Vice President of the Greenville County Foster Parent Association, believes every child should experience the magic of unwrapping presents on Christmas.

“The most rewarding part is definitely getting the toys into the foster family’s hands and giving those kids the opportunity to celebrate,” he said.

By July, GCFPA gets to work to make it happen.

Last month, the organization was blown away when more than 100 donors packed the warehouse with gifts for nearly 600 kids in foster care.

“Some kids have more than 1 bag,” Funderburk said. “Some kids have a bag and a bike.”

Among the rows and rows of black plastic bags stuffed with toys was one for Thompson’s youngest foster child.

“Is it a complete surprise for her on Christmas morning?” Asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman.

“No! She’s expecting Christmas now, but a lot of things she’ll be receiving [will be a suprise] like a brand new bike,” Thompson told 7News.

Thompson’s trunk used to be loaded with 2 bags of toys. However, the 6-year-old she was fostering is no longer in the system, because Thompson adopted her.

“She’s now my daughter!” Thompson said.

Thompson tells 7News she used to foster her adopted daughter’s biological mother.

The mother says the true spirit of Christmas, after all, is family whether blood-related or not.

“It’s such a blessing,” she said.

GCFPA says 250 teenagers in foster care received gift cards.

Sat., Dec. 14, is the last day to pick-up toys. Foster parents can swing by the Merovan Center in Greenville between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. That’s located at 1200 Woodruff Rd.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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