Charity Effort Provides Christmas Gifts for Foster Children - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Charity Effort Provides Christmas Gifts for Foster Children

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GREENWOOD, Del.- Nineteen-year-old Robbie Westhoff was adopted into his current family in Greenwood nine years ago. In the years before that though, when he was living in foster care, he said the holiday season could be really lonely. 

"When I was in foster care," he said, "Christmas wasn't something I looked forward to. Because I knew what it was going to be. It was going to be a board game. Or it was going to be a pair of socks." 

For Westhoff, the problem with these presents was not that they were simplistic, or even that they were inexpensive. He said the problem was that they were not personal. He said it was obvious they weren't "for him."

It was this logic that lead to the creation of  "Presents From Robbie," a charity effort started by Robbie and his father, James. Foster children across Delaware submitted lists this year of presents they wanted, and the program matched them up with Secret Santas to buy them. The Westhoff family said that every single foster child in Delaware is now involved, which is approximately 150 children. More than 350 people have volunteered as Secret Santas for 2015. 

On their Facebook page, James explained how the program first began. 

"I was talking with my son," said Westhoff. "Whom we adopted from foster care when he was nine. He started telling me that for foster kids, Christmas is the worst. One year, he had to sit under a tree and act happy for a family's biological kids as they opened presents. But he received nothing."

Kolby Dukes, from Dukes Lumber, has volunteered as a Secret Santa since the groups inception. This year he said he is buying gifts for a girl named Gabrielle. 

"Waking up Christmas morning," he said. "It's just an exciting time to see something under the tree with your name on it. And to know that someone went out just for you. It just makes the whole Christmas season." 

Westhoff said that they've had so many volunteers that they're actually done looking for any more Secret Santas. On Saturday, the Westhoff family will host a big wrapping party, before shipping the gifts off to foster children. 

"All these gifts are going out to these kids," said Robbie. "And it's like you're having someone listen to what you actually want...With all the things the kids are going through, the least they can have is a good Christmas." 

Full video can be found here.

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