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Gift from the Heart Toy Drive Aims to Make 5th Year Biggest

November 15, 2018

Lindsey English, founder of Fostering Change, Inc., is collecting toys during the organization's annual Gift from the Heart to provide gifts for foster children during the holidays. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE FILE PHOTO Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LEOMINSTER -- It’s the fifth year of Fostering Change, Inc’s annual Gift from the Heart toy drive and it’s poised to be the biggest one yet.

The multi-city effort seeking to provide a Christmas present to every foster child living in the cities of Leominster, Fitchburg, and Gardner collected over 1,500 toys and other gift items last year. This year’s drive has expanded to all nine communities covered by the regional office of the Department of Children and Families, meaning all 400 kids living in foster care will hopefully be getting something for Christmas this year.

“The biggest difference is the fact that this is the first year we’re doing this as an official nonprofit, which most people wouldn’t think is a big deal, but it really is,” said Lindsey English, Fostering Change founder.

Successfully achieving 501c3 status earlier this year, English said, has lent the toy drive more credibility this year and brought out more interested donors and participating donors as a result. It’s also incentivized giving cash donations, which for the first time are tax deductible.

Purchased gifts will be going to children as young as newborns and as old as 22-year-olds. To help donors navigate that age range, a gift wish list has been established on amazon.com to help people choose what items they want to buy as gifts.

Because of the new nonprofit status, Fostering Change was also eligible for a partnership with Amazon Smile, the company’s nonprofit arm that donates a percent of each purchase of the wish list back to the nonprofit.

“It’s almost like they’re donating twice without spending any extra,” said English.

Donations are now being accepted and will continue to be accepted until Dec. 8.

Collection boxes have been placed at the following locations:

n Art on the Rocks, Fitchburg

n Leominster Credit Union, Adams St., Leominster

n Family Federal Savings Bank, Whalon St., Fitchburg,

n Thumbs Up Barber Shop, Fitchburg

n Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Fitchburg

n Mia Bella Spa, Leominster

n Skin Care by Desiree, Leominster

n Fidelity Bank, Leominster headquarters, Fitchburg location, and Barre location

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53

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