SPRINGFIELD, Mo — Ambassadors for Children provides many services to children in foster care year-round, including clothing, furniture, funding for sports fees, and other activities.

“Their parents are stretched to the maximum when it comes to all of the things they provide a family,” said Amanda Ingle, program coordinator at Ambassadors for Children.

She says during the holiday season, AFC relies on the help of sponsors and mighty volunteers like Anita King.

“It takes a lot to get things to the point where we’ve got all the gifts for the kids. So it’s behind-the-scenes work,” King said.

Nearly 700 children in Greene County have turned in their personalized wish lists and you can be matched with one of them.

Once you have purchased the items on the child’s list, you will bring them unwrapped to Ambassadors for Children on Battlefield Road in Springfield, or you can buy them online and have them shipped there.

“They won’t know who you are, but they’ve got a feeling of ‘there’s someone out there who went and specifically got this for me and cared enough to find it,'” King said.

King says for some this might be the first time they’re asking for something specific. And sometimes those items are not just a want.

“One of their requests was new shoes because they’re homeless, and they haven’t had new shoes in years,” she said. “And you see older teens who say, ‘I’d like cleaning supplies’ because they’re on their own. So, it’s a gift to someone, but it’s also meeting a basic need.”

King and Ingle say something small like a Christmas wish list is part of something bigger: AFC’s mission to make foster children in Greene County feel like valued members of their community.

“If we can support them now, years down the road, they’re going to be your co-workers and your neighbors,” King said.

The wish list comes out to be about $100. Dec. 7 is the deadline for drop-off. You can sign up individually or sponsor as a group. Contact Ambassadors for Children for all those details on its Facebook page or website.