Boutte resident Amanda Wedge understands exactly why Child Advocacy Services in St. Charles Parish is so important.
After all, she was once a foster parent.
Wedge’s case ended in her adopting the child, and for the last few years she has single handedly organized a toy collection for the children in CASA.
“There are no words to express how much this means to our CASA kids,” CASA Supervisor Jodi Luna said of the donations. “This has been a really tough year. Not only are these children in foster care, but they are dealing with the pandemic and the effects of Hurricane Ida. Many of our children are still displaced with their foster families because of the storm.”
This year Wedge organized gift donations for 56 children – the most so far. She recently dropped all of the presents off at the CASA office.
“I started doing the Christmas drive after Jodi was my daughter’s CASA,” Wedge said. “I love what she did for my daughter and for my family, and I wanted to give back to other kids in foster care.”
Wedge said CASA gives her a list of the children in their care as well as their wish lists. She said this year donations started pouring in as soon as she posted the information on her Facebook page, and that she had no doubt she would get enough interest from her friends and family members to fulfill all of the lists.
“I assigned each person a child and they just bring me those gifts,” she said. “In the past years I’ve had way more sponsors than I’ve had lists. These kids don’t have family that can provide Christmas for them, and I just want to thank all my Facebook community to help make it happen.”
Luna said what Wedge does goes way beyond providing gifts.
“What Amanda and the amazing donors do for these kids is gives them a sense of normalcy,” she said. “They deserve to have as special of a Christmas as the family of the home they are in. They deserve to have that special toy or those sought-after shoes. Amanda’s donors have made that possible. Even though the people who donate to these children cannot see the expressions on the kids’ faces when they open the gifts, they still pour their hearts in to fulfilling their wish lists and giving them a wonderful Christmas.