St. Joseph in New London teams up with DCF to benefit foster kids

Eighth-graders from St. Joseph School in New London wrap 166 Christmas gifts they collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)
Eighth-graders from St. Joseph School in New London wrap 166 Christmas gifts they collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)

New London — There are 166 foster children across the region benefitting this year from the kindness of the New London County community.

The state Department of Children and Families, in conjunction with the Connecticut Alliance for Foster and Adoptive Families, will present Christmas gifts to the children at a Dec. 9 appreciation event for the children and their foster and adoptive families at the Groton Inn & Suites. The foster children range in age from newborn to 18.

It was the students from St. Joseph School in New London and St. Bernard School in Montville that held toy drives to collect gift cards and toys that filled the dozens of bins that lined a wall inside the gymnasium of St. Joseph on Friday.

The entire eighth-grade class, the 75th graduating class at the school, set to the task of wrapping and labeling those collected toys on Friday.

Jenn Londregan, mother to one of the eighth-graders and organizer for the toy drive, said community service projects “are a big part of what we do here,” and the students recognize it’s the time of year to give back to the community.

“This is really nice, what we’re doing,” said eighth-grader Elizabeth Hannaford, who teamed up with Isabella Pero to tackle wrapping duties on an awkwardly shaped, remote-controlled talking toy.

Hannaford, who has two sisters, said her family donated some “arts and crafts stuff for girls” to help the cause. Pero brought in Legos, because “Who doesn’t like Legos?”

“We just brought in what we thought others kids would enjoy,” Hannaford said.

There are about 473 children in foster care in New London County and the Christmas appreciation event was one small way to give back, said Scott Johnson, a DCF foster care recruiter and social worker.

“In this area, we definitely need more foster homes,” he said.

The need is especially great for siblings, older children and kids with special medical needs.

For more information on how to become a foster parent or adopt a child, visit www.ctfosteradopt.com. Anyone who would like to donate Christmas presents to benefit children in foster care should call Karen Smith at (860) 885-2422.

g.smith@theday.com

St. Joseph School eighth-graders Erin Londregan, left, 13, and Britanie Vil, 15, both of New London, wrap one of 166 Christmas gifts their class collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the New London school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)
St. Joseph School eighth-graders Erin Londregan, left, 13, and Britanie Vil, 15, both of New London, wrap one of 166 Christmas gifts their class collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the New London school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)
St. Joseph School eighth-graders Britanie Vil, left, 15, and Erin Londregan, 13, both of New London, wrap one of 166 Christmas gifts their class collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the New London school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)
St. Joseph School eighth-graders Britanie Vil, left, 15, and Erin Londregan, 13, both of New London, wrap one of 166 Christmas gifts their class collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the New London school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)
Liam Peters, right, 13, of East Lyme, an eighth-grader from St. Joseph School in New London, works with classmates as they wrap 166 Christmas gifts they collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)
Liam Peters, right, 13, of East Lyme, an eighth-grader from St. Joseph School in New London, works with classmates as they wrap 166 Christmas gifts they collected for DCF foster care kids around New London County on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the school's gymnasium. (Tim Martin/The Day)

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