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Pick an Elf program under way

By Bill Yoder

Glenda Horton is retired from her 33 years with the state of Georgia Department of Family and Children Services but has volunteered, spending her days as a foster parent to three children and takes up the Pick an Elf children's Christmas wish list program each year.

Clayton County has more than 400 children in its foster care program with most of them staying in 120 foster parent homes. These homes and parents often have children of their own. And budgets are tight.

Pick An Elf helps to pick up the extra expense of finding gifts for these kids as some homes have up to six foster children in their care.

Even though the state provides a monthly stipend for each child to each family, it barely covers general costs of food and medical. So when birthdays, school materials, sports or musical instruments are wanted for their varying interests, these sometimes are put on a shelf as available funds are just not there.

Sponsors of the program say you can help this season by offering to sponsor a child between the ages of birth to 18. Each child in foster care makes out a Christmas Wish list and Horton works to find a group or person who can buy the wish list items and bring them to the Clayton County DFCS office in Jonesboro. You don't even have to wrap the gifts. They prefer you don't.

If you feel a list would be out of your budget, a small donation of cash can be sent.

For more information call the Elf hotline at 770-473-2312. Checks can be made out to Clayton County DFCS and be mailed to: Glenda Horton, Clayton County DFCS, 877 Battlecreek Road, Jonesboro, Ga., 30236.