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Caritas Family Solutions encourages foster children sponsorship through Secret Santa program

Caritas Family Solutions’ Secret Santa Tree (photo courtesy Caritas)


This holiday season, Caritas Family Solutions is aiming to ensure foster children all over Southern Illinois have gifts under the tree. As the second largest provider of foster care services in the state, the nonprofit’s Secret Santa program is looking for more people to sponsor a foster child this season. The program provides year-round support for more than 2,700 foster children in their care.

“It’s unfortunate but not all of our foster children have a traditional Christmas experience,” said Brianna Gilson, Caritas Family Solutions administrative manager. “Every child wants to feel that Christmas magic. It may seem like it is little but a gift through this program is something they remember forever. Every child deserves to feel loved and special.”

The nonprofit’s Secret Santa program provides tags for every foster child in their care which includes information about the type of Christmas gift they’d like to receive. Monetary donations received during this time also play a critical role in supporting all of Caritas’s programs and foster children year-round.

“This program genuinely can not be done without our amazing donors,” said Gilson. “It amazes me the amount of kindness that still exists in the world. People are so anxious and eager to help and it’s truly amazing. After our staff drops off the gifts, we hear the stories of the excitement, and these kiddos truly deserve it.”

To become a Secret Santa, go to or in person to one of the participating locations throughout the Metro East and Southern Illinois and select a Secret Santa tag. Caritas’s Secret Santa website also includes Amazon  Wish Lists with gifts for a variety of the nonprofit’s programs, including Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA) and Fox River Assisted Living. CILA provides a group home for individuals with developmental disabilities and Fox River provides meals, housekeeping and social activities for adults age 60 and older.

People can drop off new, unwrapped gifts to the location listed on the Caritas Family Solutions website or donate by phone, online or by mailing in a check. All donations will go to support the services provided by Caritas Family Solutions.


Founded in 1947, Caritas Family Solutions is a nonprofit social service agency whose mission is to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of individuals and families in order to create healthy relationships, loving homes, and strong communities. Services include adoption, community family stabilization programs, foster care, counseling, residential treatment for children healing from abuse and/or neglect, independent living for adults with developmental disabilities (CILA), and assisted living and employment assistance for low-income seniors.

Caritas serves more than 6,300 individuals annually across Southern Illinois from offices located in Belleville, Carterville, Mount Vernon, Olney, Glen Carbon, Alton, and Effingham as well as satellite locations in Highland and Sparta. For additional information, visit

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