Early in December the Division of Children and Family Services sent out a request for help to provide a good Christmas for children in the foster care system.

There are 47 children from Jackson County placed in the system due to abuse or neglect by their caregivers. Sherri Meatte, Business Office Director at Harris Hospital, initiated the coordination of efforts to meet the request. “I believe that all children deserve a Christmas. These children were mistreated by the very people who should have protected them. Not only do these little ones deserve a good Christmas but need the reassurance provided by the gift-giving and rituals of the Holidays. They need their belief in the goodness of people restored,” says Meatte. Sherri sent out an email announcement to Harris Hospital employees and also gave an invitation to Arkansas Steel Associates to join the cause. “The response was truly astounding. I had 18 children’s wish lists fulfilled the first day I sent the plea for help,” said Meatte. Terri Mitts and Ginger Carlyle coordinated the fundraising efforts at ASA. Together, the two organization’s employees contributed over $2,400 in gifts for these children, who range in age from 18 days old to 18 years old. This combined energy supplied 29 children with a wide variety of wishes that included bikes, iPods, clothing, portable DVDs, toys, shoes, coats and many other miscellaneous gifts that will make these children feel special indeed. Harris Hospital employees worked like Santa’s elves to get all the gifts wrapped during lunch hour and delivered to Susan Simmons and April Stokes at the Arkansas Department of Human Services on Monday. Meatte stated, “This is the first year I’ve attempted to do this, so my hope is that we can continue the tradition in years to come and hopefully expand to allow other industry employees the opportunity to be a blessing to the foster care system.”