Santa's helpers wear green to help foster kids in Top of Utah

Dec 14 2012 - 7:40am

Images

NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner
Alivia (left) and Ben Klingonsmith watch as Master Sgt. Drew Titensor shows them a toy Thursday at their home in Kaysville. Personnel from Hill Air Force Base, assisted by athletes from Weber State University, delivered gifts collected by the Utah Foster Care Foundation.
Senior Master Sergeant Jeff Hartman holds a thank-you card from the Klingonsmith family.
NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner
Alivia (left) and Ben Klingonsmith watch as Master Sgt. Drew Titensor shows them a toy Thursday at their home in Kaysville. Personnel from Hill Air Force Base, assisted by athletes from Weber State University, delivered gifts collected by the Utah Foster Care Foundation.
Senior Master Sergeant Jeff Hartman holds a thank-you card from the Klingonsmith family.

KAYSVILLE -- With no snow to speak of, it didn't look much like Christmas on Thursday. However, inside the Klingonsmith home it might as well have been Dec. 25.

Airmen from Hill Air Force Base's 388th and 419th fighter wings teamed up with student athletes from Weber State University on Thursday to deliver Christmas presents to foster and adoptive families from North Salt Lake to the Utah/Idaho border.

Gathering at the Utah Foster Care Foundation House in Ogden, the airmen and the athletes stuffed wrapped gifts into large trash bags and hauled them off to the families in need.

Many of them used their own vehicles and personal leave time from work.

McKenzie Palmer, a retention specialist with the foster care foundation, said the presents went to more than 60 families and 106 children. All the presents were donated by local businesses and residents.

"Every part of this is volunteer-based," Palmer said.

Zack and Stacia Klingonsmith live in Kaysville with eight children.

The couple has been fostering children for more than four years and currently has three adopted children and two foster children whom they hope to adopt sometime next year.

"I can't tell you how much this helps us out," Stacia Klingonsmith said Thursday. "A child we don't have to worry about getting gifts for really helps us financially."

Palmer said foster families fill out applications if they need help with presents for their children during the holidays. All families who apply receive gifts, Palmer said.

Hill reservists Drue Titensor and Dave Hartman have participated in the gift drive for the past seven and eight years, respectively. Both of them said they look forward to the event every year.

"Every time we come and visit these families, I continue to be amazed," Hartman said. "I had 10 brothers and sisters growing up, so I come from a big family, but I don't know how these guys do it in this day and age. It takes a huge sacrifice."

If businesses or individuals would still like to donate, airmen and volunteers will be collecting gift cards and cash from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Utah Foster Care offices at 3340 S. Harrison Blvd. in Ogden today. For more information on the event, go to www.utahfostercare.org.

In Utah, there are more than 2,600 children in foster care and about 1,400 foster families.

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