"Connie and Curtis" are partnering with the Kent County Department of Human Services program to ensure that some local needy children experience the magic of Christmas in a good way.

Connie and Curtis Christmas Kids is a Christmas toys, books, arts and crafts kits and personal care drive for children in foster care from newborns to high schoolers.


Many children come into foster care on a monthly basis through Kent County Department of Human Service (DHS), according to Wendy Wheeler, who manages the program.

Many of these children -- who are placed with relatives or foster parents -- are facing challenges of every sort and don't truly know what it means to have a good Christmas. Connie and Curtis Christmas Kids is a truly collaborative effort and is a benevolent partnership to help ensure they do.

The drive is seeking new unwrapped toys, books, and body wash gift sets, which will be put in gift bags to be ready for children when they come into care.

The reality for these children's guardians is they don't receive payment for children until they are certified and foster parents often must purchase clothing, school supplies and other necessities out of their allowance, Wheeler said.

The gift bags put together through the Connie and Curtis Christmas Kids partnership are for children who are removed by CPS from homes or situations because of due to neglect or abuse.

They will help ensure that children entering care between Thanksgiving and Christmas get a present from Santa Claus, with any extra gifts going to needy families working with Child Protection Services (CPS).

These children deserve our kindness, love and support. Help us help them.

Here's Connie and Curtis Christmas Kids' Wish List:

Teething toys
Stacking cups
Board books
Playskool toys
Sleep sacks
Baby dolls (multicultural)
Duplo blocks
Little People
Picture books
Playskool or Little Tikes toys

5-12 year olds'
Match Box/Hot Wheels Cars
Barbie Dolls (multicultural)
Action figures (Spiderman, Marvel, and Star Wars are very popular)
Legos (smaller sets are great)
Art kits
Art supplies
Coloring books*
Crayola crayons*
Stuffed animals
Chapter books
GRPS Uniform shirts in child sizes*
Winter coats*
Hats, gloves, mittens*

Body wash sets (guys and girls)
Fuzzy blankets
Art supplies
Gift cards (Meijer, Target, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell) Smaller denominations ($5-10) are great-we can double up on cards to keep things even between siblings
Young Adult books
GRPS Uniform shirts in adult sizes*
Winter coats*
Hats, gloves, mittens*
School supplies*

A few requests…
Please no used or handmade items
Please no religious items
If you are shopping at Dollar Tree or other dollar stores, we prefer the coloring books over any other items.
The kids love the Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Care Bear, etc coloring books. We like to leave other items at the dollar stores for the families to purchase if they are trying to stretch a tight budget.
Starred items* are things we are in need of throughout the year
Gift bags are also being sought for the effort.

Donated items can be dropped off at: Kent County Department of Human Services, 121 Franklin St. SE in Grand Rapids.

For more details, call  (616) 558-7841 or contact Wendy Wheeler at Kent County DHS by email.

Aleksandr Pakhay/ThinkStock
Aleksandr Pakhay/ThinkStock

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