The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18, CEB
The North Highland United Methodist Church (NHUMC) Youth Group in Aberdeen, South Dakota, is making a difference by providing some Easter joy to Brown County foster care system children. This is the second year NHUMC youth have assembled Easter gift baskets and bags.
There are more than 1,500 children and youth in foster care in the state of South Dakota. Approximately 270 children are in foster care in Brown County. Aberdeen is the county seat of Brown County.
Foster care is a temporary alternative to a child’s biological home when that home becomes socially, emotionally, or physically inadequate for the child’s needs.
Foster children need people to bring joy and change the course of their lives. NHUMC youth are doing just that. The youth group raised money and then shopped for specific items, both online and in-store. Next, they filled eggs to create 53 age-appropriate Easter gift baskets and bags.
But more than just the youth spread Easter joy. At North Highland UMC, the junior youth group worked on the project. NHUMC Youth Group Jr. made bunny and carrot cards with a positive message. The women’s group that meets monthly filled treat bags with candy.
A representative from the Brown County Foster Care System and a youth whose family has fostered spoke to the NHUMC Youth Group.
“They shared about some of the reasons children find themselves not living at home,” said Rev. Lou Whitmer, who serves at North Highland United Methodist Church. “The youth from the family whose family has fostered children shared that a foster child in their home, who received an Easter basket last year, was so amazed that all of this gift was just for him! It spurred our youth group to consider what items were included carefully. That story helped to create a great deal of empathy.”
The Easter project is a simple act of kindness that spreads joy and the love of Jesus. The gifts were delivered to Brown County Social Services for distribution.