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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
December 16, 2014     Cape Gazette
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Cape Gazette CAPE LIFE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16- THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014 17 Presents for Robbie delivers gifts to children in need By Maddy Lauria them to have what I never had," enough volunteers for each child maddy capegzette,com R0bbie said. to have two secret Santas. The Westhoff family works"I keep thinking of all these Nine years ago, Greenwood with Delaware's Division of Fam- kids," Jim said. "It's the highlight resident Jim Westhoff and his ily Services to identify children of the holiday season for me and wife Cindy welcomed a son into in need of presents during the Robbie. Everything we're doing their family, holidays. They first had to get is all on a volunteer basis, and Robbie was 9 years old, and wish lists from the kids, then everyone is stepping up. It's just after spending most of his child- they had to find volunteer secret one neighbor helping another." hood in Delaware's foster care Santas to help purchase the gifts, Joseph Smack, executive as- system, he maily had a family to wrap them and deliver the gifts sistant in the Division of Family call his own, during holiday parties for the Services, has worked with the Last year, Robbie shared sto- kids. Westhoff family's secret Santa ries with his father about how Jim Westhoff said the wish program since its 2013 start. He difficult the holidays can be for lists are heart-wrenching be- said this year's efforts for teens children in the foster care sys- cause children ask for items like helps fill a gap for an age group tern. Even when they're placed scarves, hats and warm jackets of foster kids who are often over- with a family, holiday advertise- - gifts that many families would looked. "It's nice that children ments can make them feel left take for granted, in care are recognized. Some out, he said. Robbie told Jim He said last year, a 16-year-old haven't had a proper holiday in a about one Christmas spent sit- girl was moved to tears by her long time, if at all, so these kinds ting under a family Christmas present. She received a pair of of gestures are very nice at this tree, watching his foster parents' socks, but it wasn't the content of time of year," he said. biological children open their the gift that brought her to tears, In two years, the Westhoff gifts. But there were none for but the idea that those socks family has nearly doubled their Robbie. were bought specifically for her. contributions, and if the program "There were never really any "It's truly about the gesture and continues, they may be able to sentimental gifts or anything I not the present," Jim Westhoff provide presents for most, if not asked for," he said. said. all, Delaware foster teens. Smack Robbie and Jim Westhoff put This year's Presents from Rob- said there are currently 651 chip their heads and hearts together bie program will focus on foster dren in Delaware's foster care and decided to do something for teens because the Toys for Tots system, including 240 teens. Delaware's foster children. They program helps foster children up "The state cannot do every- started Presents from Robbie to age 13, Jim said. They gathered thing for these children that last year and delivered gifts to 50 wish lists for 130 teens, and with we would like to do to provide Delaware foster kids. an outpouring of support from them with the holidays that they "The big thing is, I just want the community, they now have deserve, so it's really satisfying SUBMITTED PHOTO SHORTLY AFTER Jim and Cindy Westhoff adopted their son Robbie, they became pregnant with a daughter. Delaney, now 7, looks up to her big broth- er. Here she gives him a kiss in a 2013 Christmas photo. to see social groups filling that county will accept presents, void," he said. "It does show that which Robbie will then take to a small grassroots movement, holiday parties or case workers coupled with social media tools, for delivery to the teenagers. can really make a big difference "It's just something that I never throughout the state." got as a kid, and I feel all kids ... Most of the volunteers have deserve the gifts and just know- been found through social me- ing that they have someone who dia, mainly through Reddit, Jim cares," Robbie said. "It's like be- said, and while they've gathered ing a family to them." enough secret Santas and pres- For more information or to ents for this year, they're still in participate in Presents from Rob- need ofwrappingpaper, tape and bie, email fromrobbie@gmail. locations for wrapping parties, corn or go to www.facebook. Drop-off locations in each com/PresentsFromRobbie. from your good neighbor. May all your wishes come true this wondrous season. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there, CALL ME TODAY. Jeanine O'Donnell, Agent 16583 Coastal Hwy Lewes, DE 19958 Bus: 302-644-3276 www.lewesinsurance.com State Farm, Home Office, Bloomington, IL t101450.t