Safe Children Coalition collecting gift baskets for foster families in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties

Special event planned in early May in conjunction with month’s National Foster Care celebration

Safe Children Coalition Communications Specialist Tannisse Clark displays a beach-themed Foster Parent Appreciation basket. Photo contributed by Safe Children Coalition

In advance of National Foster Care Month in May, leaders of the child welfare agency Safe Children Coalition (SCC) are encouraging members of the public “to show foster families their deep appreciation for caring for children in crisis,” the Coalition has announced.

The organization is collecting gift baskets and gift cards to present to foster families in Florida’s 12th Circuit (Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties) during a Foster Parent Appreciation event in early May, a news release explains.

Gift baskets might feature themes, the release notes, such as movie night, with a Netflix gift card and snacks, or a restaurant gift card and movie theater tickets; game night, with board games and snacks; date night, with movie and/or restaurant gift cards, meal delivery service, or tickets to a local attraction; gardening supplies, such as tools, plant nursery gift cards, and flower or vegetable seeds; or a theme of the donor’s choosing.

Members of the public also can organize gift card drives for spa services, restaurants, recreational outings, groceries, gas, or other services or resources, the release adds.

Commitments are needed by March 15,” the release emphasizes. Community members “can indicate their participation by filling out a simple form” at, the release says. Gift baskets may be dropped off at an SCC office between April 1 and April 12.

For further information or for help in completing the form, email or call 941-504-7420 to speak with Program Assistant LeAnn Aldridge, the release notes.

“Additionally, to make a monetary donation, visit These donations support critical lifesaving programs and services for children and families,” the release explains.

“The community’s support, through the donation of a gift basket or gift cards, will help us to show these everyday heroes how much we appreciate them for the difference they make for children and families in our community,” said SCC president and CEO Brena Slater in the release. “One caring foster household can make a lifelong positive impact on a child and their family,” she continued. “We are so grateful for our foster families — and hope others with room in their hearts and homes will consider looking into becoming new foster families.”

Nearly 1,600 children were in foster care in the 12th Circuit last year, the release points out. “Foster homes provide abused or neglected children with stability and a place to heal until they can safely return to their parent(s),” the release adds.

The agency is looking for persons who might want to explore becoming foster parents, the release also notes. The next information session for those interested in fostering children in the 12th Circuit will take place on March 13. For more information, visit; to inquire about becoming a foster parent, contact foster Parent Recruitment Specialist Melissa Hueser at 941-334-2971 or