274 children received gifts
by Shanna Fortier
The vision for A Christmas to Remember came to Sandra Shank in 2016. The goal was to create a Christmas event for all children and youth in Flagler County with open cases with the Department of Children and Family Services.
Each year, the event has grown; this year, the celebration also included 50 community children in need. In total, 274 kids were registered to receive gifts at the event held Dec. 14 at the Flagler County Fairgrounds.
“For children and youth who are in care, the hardest holidays for them are Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” said Shank, who has run a group home for teen boys in Palm Coast for the past 17 years.
“I can remember when I first started my group home, we had a young man that actually tossed the Christmas tree out of the house. That just shows the level of pain,” Shank said. “I want to make this a day that they can forget about everything that’s going on and they can just be a kid and have a lot of fun. And most importantly, they can see that there are lots of people in the community that love and support them.”
Many community volunteers came together to make A Christmas to Remember a special day. Each school in Flagler County also adopted a minimum of 10 kids and fulfilled their Christmas wishes.
At the event, Flagler Schools Superintendent James Tager thanked those who provide foster care to area students.
“We love all of our students in Flagler Schools,” Tager said. “Your love and support as foster parents makes a difference for our students. They learn and grow because of each on of you.”
Shank and her team are already planning for the 2020 A Christmas to Remember event. It is scheduled for Dec. 19, 2020 at the Flagler County Fairgrounds.