The COVID-19 pandemic has cut considerably into the fundraising abilities of nonprofits, including a local group that supports foster children.

“We haven’t been able to have any of our fundraisers,” said Larry Giordano, founder and president of Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley.

Annually, the group has a bocce tournament and a concert at the Blue Ocean Music Hall at Salisbury Beach to raise money. But neither event could be held this year due to the coronavirus, Giordano said.

With a need greater than ever, Foster Kids is now reaching out the community for help purchasing Christmas gifts for hundreds of children in the system throughout the region.

Volunteers who sign up for the “Santa’s Helper” program are asked to purchase gifts and fulfill wish lists for foster children. This allows the children to receive something that is truly wanted and add more joy to their Christmas holiday, said Giordano.

The average wish list costs roughly $100 to fulfill. Donations of any amount are also accepted for those who would rather offer financial support, he said.

In years past, a holiday party with Santa Claus was held for the children at a local church. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions the party cannot be held this year, but gifts will be distributed safely in time for Christmas, he said.

Two socially distanced wrapping parties are scheduled for Dec. 9 and 10. Volunteers are needed for this effort also.

Those interested in becoming a Santa’s Helper, donating or signing up for the wrapping parties can do so through the group’s website, fosterkidsmv.org, or by emailing fkmvsantashelper@gmail.com.

Giordano, who was raised in foster care himself, reminds that children are placed into foster care through no fault of their own.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

 

 

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