Pennington Foundation provides Christmas shopping for foster families

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 6:34 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Filled with electronics, clothing and toys, to the average shopper the items in Gina Katz’s shopping cart look like a typical Christmas haul.

And that’s the point of the shopping spree she went on at Target. Katz is one of many foster parents checking off their kid’s Christmas list thanks to a generous donation from the Pennington Foundation.

“The Pennington Foundation has provided enough money to cover each child in foster care with about $500 worth of school supplies clothing and Christmas gifts,” Jesse Brown, coordinator of the Family Engagement Center in Washoe County said.

The $342,500 donation is ensuring the 714 kids in foster care in the county don’t feel left out this Christmas.

With five kids of their own and three foster kids, the Katz household is a busy one. Gina says she is so grateful for this opportunity.

“Just with our budget- kind of spread it out among all the kiddos. [It] helped us make everything equal on all the kids,” she said. “It helps them just have the thing that their friends have. To wear the clothes from Target, like those are the cool clothes that they get to wear at school. So yeah, it’s been a huge blessing for our family.”

That normalcy is a critical part of why the county wants to do this every Christmas.

“They already have enough going on their life, that it’s important for them to have what their peers have,” Brown said. “So the same types of clothing, their peers, the same types of toys. Anything that can help them feel like they’re not a foster child. That’s super important to us.”

And in a time where budgets are tight for everyone, anything helps.

“Foster payment for kids in foster care, it does help cover the basics,” Brown said. “But they have to pay for sports programs and school programs, all that kind of stuff.”

At the check out line, the smile on Gina’s face reaches from ear to ear.

“My kids are going to be so excited. I can’t wait to the Christmas morning.”