Foster parenting inspires Christmas outreach ministry

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, December 1, 2022

Each year since 1999, Life Changing Communities Outreach in Fort Deposit has partnered with individuals and community organizations to provide Christmas gifts for children of local families.

This year, organizer Minnie Peterson hopes to help 25 local families have a merry Christmas.

“We try to serve at least 25 children,” said Peterson. “We do it in several local towns.”

Each September, Peterson contacts families she already knows have a financial need to determine which one’s need assistance with Christmas gifts. She surveys each child to discover what items are on their wish list and attempts to provide several toys and at least one specific item from their list.

“Last year, the majority of our kids were boys,” Peterson said. “They wanted things like footballs, and basketballs. One needed a basketball goal and we were able to get that. Another boy wanted cleats, so we got him cleats. One little girl just loves Baby Alive dolls, so we got her a Baby Alive and she just loved that.”

Families receiving help all have a financial need. Some, she noted, live in Butler County but most are in Lowndes County.

“All the families are low-income and unemployed,” Peterson said. “Most of them receive public assistance.”

For years, Peterson served as a foster parent, providing homes for children referred through the Lowndes County’s Department of Human Resources. The experience, Peterson said, opened her eyes to the financial needs of many local families and inspired her to try and help at Christmas.

“I used to be a foster parent,” Peterson said. “I got to know about a lot of families and their needs.”

Community donations and appropriations from the Lowndes County Commission fund the ministry, which partners with Toys for Tots for Christmas.

Peterson said the ministry also provides backpacks and school supplies at the beginning of each school year.

For more information, contact Minnie Peterson at (334) 437-4636.