Warm Clothing Drive Once Again Collecting Hugs and Connecting Hearts for Delaware’s Children

The Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) and its community partners, are pleased to report that the Heart 2 Heart Hugs campaign has now begun. Heart 2 Heart Hugs is focused on providing warmth, comfort, hugs and smiles for kids and young adults in Delaware who are homeless or in foster care. Donations of “hugs” (to include new or handmade coats, blankets, scarves, gloves, fleece items, monetary donations and more) will continue until February 2019 for this year’s effort.

The GACEC has received tremendous support not only from individuals within the community, but from area businesses, state agencies and other organizations as well. Most recently the Twisted Stitchers crocheting group that meets at Dover’s Modern Maturity Center donated many large bags of beautiful handmade items. In October the program was blessed with another large donation of handmade items from the Care Wear project that is part of Volunteer Delaware.

Statistics from the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) show that in the 2017-18 school year, there were 21,168 students receiving special education services. Roughly one third of those students are homeless or in foster care. Homelessness impacts children and the State of Delaware in many ways. Health issues, food security and educational proficiency are areas that the report uses to show how great the needs are for children who are homeless. Wendy Strauss, executive director of the GACEC stated that “…this project connects hearts and collects hugs for our children in foster care and for our children who are homeless.

Programs like this let our children know that we are thinking about them and we care for them.” Dover Mayor, Robin R. Christiansen commented during his remarks at the Kickoff Event, held November 29th at Central Middle School, “Every one of us can make a difference in the lives of someone who is not as fortunate as we are, and we should strive to do that daily.” Secretary Josette Manning of the Division of Services for Children Youth and their Families (DSCYF) spoke about the blessing that this program is to those experiencing placement in foster care or homelessness. “Often the transition to foster care is a move that is quick and traumatic for the children, having something of their very own at a new place can be such a comfort.” Wendy Strauss concluded the kickoff by reminding everyone to connect hearts and collect hugs for our children who are homeless or in foster care across the State. Items will be collected through February 11, 2019, with the distribution event scheduled to take place on February 14, 2019 at George Massey Station in Dover. The distribution reception will allow foster care representatives and school homeless liaisons from around the State the opportunity to select needed items for their clients.

Drop-off points are located throughout the state and may be found on the homepage of the GACEC at http://gacec.delaware.gov. Contact the GACEC at (302) 739-4553 or Sybil Baker, GACEC Administrative Coordinator Sybil.brown@gacec.k12.de.us for additional information.

Heart2Heart Hugs Warm Clothing Drive

Dover- Principal Shan Green of Central Middle School proudly presented opening remarks at the kickoff of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) Heart 2 Heart Hugs warm clothing drive. The annual drive, in its 9th year, collects new warm items for the children in Delaware who are homeless, under housed, or in foster care. This years campaign is an initiative to collect a broader range of warm items. New items such as sleeping bags, coats, hats, sweatshirts and gloves that will bring warmth to a child in need.

“As the weather gets colder and the holiday’s approach, it is important we remember to help Delawareans most in need.” Said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I’m proud to support he Heart 2 Heart Hugs campaign and its efforts to provide needed items to thousands of homeless and foster care children across the state.”

“Heart 2 Heart Hugs is a statewide drive that begins in November- with various organizations and companies throughout the state offering their time and resources to collect and deliver items to Delaware’s Nearly 5,000 children who are homeless, in foster care or under housed. Representative Harvey Kenton shared, “It was an honor and privilege to attend the Heart 2 Heart Hugs kickoff event today. Everyone deserves to have warm clothing and a hug. I encourage everyone to get involved…”

“Additionally, out of the nearly 5,000 children in Delaware who are homeless or in foster care, approximately one-third are children with disabilities,” explained Wendy Strauss, Director of GACEC which serves as the state advisory panel for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its amendments. “We connect hearts and collect hugs for children who are underprivileged.”

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, who has been involved with the drive for many years, shared “Heart 2 Heart Hugs is a program that for 9 years has warmed not only the children in need but also the hearts of those who embrace this cause. It helps each of us, young and old, to live the Golden Rule. I heartily encourage everyone to become a part of something bigger… by helping others.”

The warm clothing drive will collect new items through February 10, 2018. Drop off points are located throughout the state and can be found on the GACEC website at www.gacec.delaware.gov. Interested parties may also contact GACEC offices (302) 739-4553 for additional information a bout drop offs or about becoming a partner.

Heart 2 Heart Hugs Warm Clothing Drive Underway

Dover-The Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) is once again hosting a warm clothing drive that will benefit children and youth who are homeless or in foster care in Delaware. Each year we collect New or Hand-Made warm items such as: sleeping bags, coats, pajamas, hoodies, socks, slippers or any other item that might bring warmth and comfort to a child in need. We need your help to spread the word and collect NEW, positive portable “hugs” for the children of Delaware who are either homeless or in foster care. For more information contact the office at 302-739-4553 or visit our website www.gacec.delaware.gov. Now is the time to take advantage of the after holiday sales and give a “hug” to a child in need!