Mom organizes Easter baskets for foster kids for fifth year


By Charlotte Caldwell

[email protected]

RUSSIA — A mom from Russia has continued to show love to local foster children around Easter by raising funds and putting together Easter baskets.

This is the fifth year April Hoying has partnered with Specialized Alternatives for Family and Youth (SAFY) to give back to the community, including Shelby, Miami, Logan, Auglaize, Mercer, Champaign and Darke counties.

According to an article written in 2021, “April Hoying works as a play advisor for Discovery Toys, and every year the company encourages their advisors to give back to their community around Easter in some way. Last year (2020) was Hoying’s first year participating, and she had come up with the idea to create Easter baskets to donate to foster youth after seeking advice from Sylvia Roop, a foster parent recruiter for SAFY.”

“It was the first organization I found when I was looking for someone to partner with,” Hoying said about SAFY. “Sylvia has always been super supportive.”

Hoying is also the director of curriculum at Darke County Educational Service Center (ESC) and an independent consultant/educational services representative at PaperPie — a company focused on literacy and learning that sells books and educational games and toys. Working for PaperPie and Discovery Toys helps her get some of the items in the baskets along with some donations from Aldi, Dairy Queen, Alvetro Orthodontics, Marco’s Pizza, Kroger and Meijer. Everything else is purchased where Hoying can find a good price.

The article said Hoying met a goal of 52 baskets in 2020, and her goal was 60 baskets in 2021 with 41 baskets finished at the time of publication. This year, her goal is 63 baskets, which means she has to raise $3,150, and $2,880 has been raised so far. Each basket contains $50 worth of items, including toys, books, journals, hygiene items, school supplies and candy.

Hoying starts preparing in January with the help of her daughters, ages 15 and 6, who help her pick out the toys and books for each age level. Children up to age 18 can receive a basket. Hoying’s favorite part of the process is choosing the items.

“We are putting baskets together within the next two weeks, but donations are always accepted. Once we meet this year’s goal, we carry over for next year,” Hoying said.

To donate, contact Hoying at 937-417-2895 or email [email protected].

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