In the past couple of days a local Facebook post has caught my attention and pulled on my heartstrings a bit. Originally posted by a Child Protective Services employee here in Billings, it's been shared a number of times by many of my friends.

I stopped by their office today (12/10) to verify the need and chatted briefly with Kelsey via Messenger, and it's absolutely true. Hundreds of kids and teenagers in the CPS system in the Billings area are needing toys and/or gift cards this year. Donations can be dropped off at their office at 2525 4th Ave N between 8 am and 5 pm. It's the big, mostly windowless building you've probably driven by a million times.

Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

Note: there is a sign on the door that says they are closed to the public, but you can still drop off your unwrapped gifts on the 3rd floor. While any gift items will be appreciated and distributed appropriately to a child in need, the Billings Gazette posted more specific requests for Child and Family Services on their Empty Stockings segment on November 26th. Read it HERE.

As a parent, some of these requests really touched me and I'm hoping to help out at least a couple of these kiddos if I can. Here is a very small example from the dozens of requests:

Kade, age 6, wears size 7/8 clothing. He would benefit from educational toys and items as he is behind on development and speech. He is working on reading and words. He could use a winter coat and snow boots. He likes Minecraft.

 

Ava is a 9-year-old girl who struggles with sensory processing disorder. Ava could really benefit this Christmas by trying a Sensory Pea Pod. Ava would also like a mermaid tail blanket. 

 

Amie, age 7, will use a wheelchair permanently and would really like a scooter that would fold up as well as a swing for her room that she is able to sit in which will help her with relaxing. She loves Barbie dolls and would really like some new Barbie dolls and a Barbie car.

I realize that dollars can be tight for many families around this time of year, but if you're out buying gifts, please consider grabbing an item for these children too. Some are foster kids, some are kids of single parents who are struggling financially, others are children being watched by grandparents or other family members. Whatever the reason, I'm confident they would truly appreciate your help.

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