SIDNEY — Sylvia Roop with SAFY of Sidney, a therapeutic foster care agency, is partnering with April Hoying, a stay at home mom and a Discovery Toys Play adviser who lives just outside of Russia, for the fourth year in a row to raise money and put together Easter baskets for kids who have been placed in foster care in Shelby County by SAFY of Sidney.
Hoying has been raising money and purchasing items to put together Easter baskets to surprise foster care children placed by SAFY since the spring of 2020. Her work started because the organization she works for occassionally, Discovery Toys encourages their advisers to find a way to give back to their communities each year.
“I have just enjoyed putting them together and knowing that, I feel like if I was a kid and somebody gave me that basket that I didn’t know, I would feel like that’s kind of cool, and so I just feel like it’s something I can do to give back to the community and hopefully make Easter better for a group of children who might not always get everything they might want or need,” said Hoying.
Hoying collaborates with Roop to put together individualized Easter baskets for how ever many children SAFY has placed.
Roop provides Hoying with the number of children, their ages and genders so that Hoying can put together a basket specific to a kids age and, assumed, preference of toys or other items. This year, Hoying is hoping to raise $4,000 to make 90 baskets this Easter, almost double what she made in 2022 (53 baskets).
So far, Hoying has raised just over $2,000 for the 2023 Easter baskets. She raises money through individual donations and donations from community businesses. Each basket typically costs Hoying between $45 and $50.
This year, SAFY has provided Hoying with a list with the largest age range she has made baskets for. The age range she is working with ranges from babies less than a year old, all the way to 18 years old. Typically, the baskets include about two toys or games, depending on the child’s age; a book; hygiene items like a toothbrush or deodorant, at the request of SAFY; and of course candy. Hoying does her best to tailor the baskets to each child’s age. For example, this year the older girls getting baskets will be receiving a bracelet making kit and typically the older kids receiving a basket will get gift cards in place of toys.
Hoying takes on this project by herself, with Roop helping by supplying Hoying with a list of kids. All of the work to get donations such as emailing businesses, creating a Facebook page, making a flyer to share with the community to help bring in donations and purchasing the baskets and items, is done by Hoying herself. Other than Roop providing a list of kids, the only help Hoying has is when her own children get excited to help her organize the baskets.
“My kids love to help pack the baskets when it’s time to get them all packed up and taken to SAFY. My two girls help in putting them all together,” said Hoying.
For even more information on Hoying’s project and how to donate, visit her Facebook page, Easter Baskets for Kids at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069247052254, or contact Hoying directly at 937-417-2895.