More than 100 children in foster care or state custody through the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) will receive holiday surprises this season thanks to the generosity of employees at UMass Medical School’s Center for Health Care Financing.
The children, aged two months to 16, will this week get customized packages that include clothing, books and toys from their wish lists.
Jeannette Maillet, an associate program director, connected with DCF case managers before Thanksgiving to obtain the wish lists. She shared those wish lists with her UMass Medical School colleagues, and within a week, every child was matched with an employee. Each gift-giver receives demographic information about the child, as well as their clothing and shoe size, what clothing items are needed, and two book and/or toy requests.
Maillet started the initiative four years ago. She knew that some children involved with DCF may not get gifts around the holidays, so she reached out to DCF case managers she met through her work. They provided gift requests from a small group of children. She shared her idea with some colleagues, and momentum grew from there.
There is so much support for the program that Maillet expects to expand the giving to 125 children next year.