TOLEDO, Ohio — In less than a week, the PNC Gift of Joy will be taking place from Nov. 25 to Dec. 20, with our annual Downtown Gift Drop happening all day Dec. 12 outside our WTOL studios.
But efforts are underway right now to make sure foster children of Lucas County and their families get the support they need.
Families like the Hosleys, who made the decision to foster children after finding out they were unable to conceive children on their own.
"We decided we had enough love to give, so we would like to give it to those who needed it while they transitioned back home," Jessica Hosley said.
They have been fostering children for four years now.
"At first we said we only wanted one because we don't have kids, and then they called us with a sibling set and honestly, it was the best thing we have ever done," said Hosley.
Remington came to the Hosleys in August 2018 - a difficult transition, but they had the support of Lucas County Children Services.
"They (LCCS) have helped us. Definitely got us through the last four years, for sure," Hosley said.
Remington now has her forever family, and she shares it with a foster brother and sister, who WTOL is not naming to protect their privacy.
"Last year we did spend Christmas with the sibling set and their mom and dad and other siblings," Hosley said.
The holidays can be an especially difficult time for the thousands of abused and neglected children overseen by LCCS.
In an often-times unstable environment with many transitions, getting gifts during Christmas helps provide some much-needed stability, love and of course, the gift of joy.
"That's what it is. No kid should have to feel different from anyone else, especially around the holidays or their birthdays," Hosley said. "It's not their fault that they're in the situation that they're in."
The gifts collected during the Gift of Joy are provided to children from birth to 18 years of age in the Lucas County foster care system.
"We got to experience last year what Lucas County gives the biological parents to be able to give to their children and the holidays, cause like I said, we included the parents to receive gifts and to see the look on not only the kids' faces but their parents' faces - that they were able to give their child something, even if they're not working or they weren't able to provide everything that the child wanted - they were still able to give that," Hosley said. "And to see the light in both the child's face and the parent's face - it was life-changing."
You can be apart of that life-changing experience in someone's life this holiday season by dropping off any new and unwrapped toy to our Gift of Joy event, or by dropping a gift off to one of the many convenient locations around the area.
The drop-off locations are:
- Franklin Park Mall - 5001 Monroe St., Toledo
- Allshred Services - 3940 Technology Dr., Maumee
- Toledo Auto Care - 4544 Monroe St. and 5329 Heatherdowns Blvd, Toledo
- B&L Whitehouse Auto Care - 10829 Logan St., Whitehouse
- Woodcraft - 5311 Airport Hwy., Toledo
- Barnes & Noble - 4940 Monroe St., Toledo (books only)
- Countertop Shop - 9300 Airport Hwy., Toledo
- Custom Training Solutions - 200 West Scott Park Dr., Toledo
- iLEAD Spring Meadows - 1615 Timberwolf Dr,. Holland
- The Chamber Partnership - 7617 Angola Rd., Holland
- Glass City Radio - 720 Water St. 4th Fl., Toledo
Our area foster parents already give so much of their time and love, so chipping in around the holidays makes a huge difference.
"I'm at stay-at-home mom, so we're on a one-income basis, so the help is definitely needed," Hosley said. "There's never enough, never enough. There's so many kids right now that need foster homes. Just to be able to give one present - if everybody in Toledo just gave one present, then every child would have something to open on Christmas morning."
If you can't make it to the WTOL Downtown Gift Drop or to any of the above listed locations, you can also Click It, Ship It, Gift It!
Simply shop online and ship a gift directly to the WTOL 11 studios, and we'll help LCCS get your gift to a child who will truly appreciate it this holiday season.