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More than 900 foster care kids get Christmas gifts thanks to the community

Posted at 6:21 PM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 21:30:42-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — All 904 foster care children in Kern County will get what they wished for this Christmas thanks to the Holiday Cottage and the community.

For weeks the community visited the cottage to choose a wish to fulfill and all of the donors returned with gifts in hand.

23ABC News spoke to foster parent Jessica Herrera who said these gifts make all of the difference for kids who are in and out of homes like hers during the holidays.

After having two kids of her own, Bakersfield resident Jessica Herrera said fostering two children wasn't part of her initial plan, "We had decided two kids were enough for our family."

However, Herrera's plans changed permanently, when Child Protective Services placed her niece and nephew in her care, which added two more to her family tree this Christmas, "I just recently adopted my daughter she is my second adoption this year I adopted my son in May," Herrera said.

The mother of two became a mother of four after National Adoption Day this November where Herrera and her husband took full custody of ten month old Juliet and two year old Jaden Angel.

Thanks to the Holiday Cottage gift drive for foster youth and the generosity of the community, $5,000 was raised and 904 children just like Juliette and Jaden will now have gifts to look forward to this Christmas.

Heidi Carter of the Department of Human Services in Kern County hand delivered one of those wishes to the Herrera Family Wednesday. A new fully loaded mini ice cream store for the whole family to enjoy something sweet on Christmas day.

Herrera said the gifts represent more than Christmas spirit and parents like her appreciate the help during their foster care journey, "There's kids that are so many different ages that know what it's like to be taken away from their home and a gift like this is just to give them a little hope to know that they are loved and they are thought about, and that's a great big part due to Bakersfield and everyone that helped and donated.”

Carter said even though the Holiday Cottage is done, the community can still help the 100 kids with Christmas wishes expected to enter the foster care system before the holidays, “Even though the cottage is closed the work continues."

The Department will be delivering gifts through Friday but if you would like to still be a part of fulfilling a wish from a foster care child, contact the Department of Human Services at 661-631-6000.