Providing an opportunity for every person
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cards for kids
cards for kids

Warm & Fuzzy February Campaign Provides Comforts for Foster Youth 

Children supported by Warm and Fuzzy February 2021

To a child affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment, small comforts mean the world to them. This is why every year the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) holds our annual Warm and Fuzzy February campaign to provide cozy comforts for foster youth. This year, we were able to provide over 1,000 children with care items for winter!

Book Drive

For children who experience trauma, reading becomes an outlet for them. According to Health Line, reading helps reduce stress, aids sleep, alleviates depression, and strengthens the brain — all of which have positive benefits on a child’s mental health. Thanks to the help of social influencer, literacy and children’s causes advocate, Zayda Love, books were purchased from our Amazon wish list and used to contribute to our care packages.  

cards for kids

Cards for Kids

Volunteer Action Hero, Jacqueline Legazcue, held a “Cards for Kids” volunteer activity over Zoom to create and collect cards to include in our Warm and Fuzzy February care packages. Some participants shared their own experience with foster care and their desire to help children who are currently in the foster care system.

Jamz & Jammies

Jacqueline also hosted a virtual fundraiser called “Jamz & Jammies,” where guests could dress in pajamas and dance to their favorite songs in order to raise funds for the campaign. During the event, she donned headphones and the name DJ PJ, playing danceable tunes for all ages. There was even a text-to-donate option to request songs. Some favorites included “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, “I Like to Move It” from Madagascar, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, and “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

dj pj

The event also featured a virtual concert segment with a performance by Katie Ferrara, an award-winning alternative pop singer/songwriter from Los Angeles who writes honest and authentic music. Katie lends her voice to causes like ours to raise awareness for projects she is passionate about. A highlight of her performance was the song “No Bad Days,” which was featured on the Hallmark Channel series The Good Witch. CFA Director of Development, Jenelle Phillips, stated that it is her new favorite song.

“It’s a great reminder for all of us to find the positive in each day and to keep a heart of gratitude,” Jenelle said. “It’s particularly a great message for the children we serve. Though things are not easy for them, there are wonderful opportunities and people in their life lifting them up in support.”

Katie Ferrara

Our Impact

Participants of the campaign donated cards, pajamas, clothing, books, funds, and their time to make the project a success. Through our various fundraisers, we raised a total of $2,123 to contribute to the campaign.

Thanks to our amazing donors, CFA provided care packages filled with books, stuffed animals, cookies and winter wear or pajamas to 226 foster youth at Trinity Youth Services. Foster teens living on residential campuses received much-requested hoodies, which they were very grateful for.

hoodies for foster teens

We were also able to provide 885 children at Citrus Elementary School, Hannah’s Children’s Homes, Children’s Advocacy Center, Foothill Family Shelter, and RARCC with stuffed animals and warm clothing. In total, we supported 1,111 children through the 2021 Warm and Fuzzy February campaign!

This year’s campaign was sponsored by Sharon Nagel and Cindy Rainey with special thanks to Sysco Riverside for providing cookies included in care packages and The City of Claremont Human Services for providing stuffed animals. Thank you to everyone who graciously donated to make sure each child felt the support they need and deserve.

Family Night Pack

Family Night Packs

In addition to our traditional Warm and Fuzzy February care packages, we were also able to purchase items to compile 72 family night care packages for foster families. Each family night pack included popcorn, candy, soda, DVD, and board game or puzzle! Twelve packs were also distributed to residential campuses for the foster youth living there. They received snacks as well as books to replenish their libraries. Thank you to a generous anonymous donor for making this possible.

Be the Difference

We appreciate everyone who joined us for this year’s Warm and Fuzzy campaign and for being the difference in the lives of children in need. If you would like to contribute to promote literacy among foster youthdonate to our Zayda Literacy Fund, where three foster youth who write the most compelling book reports will be granted $500 each for their imaginative ambitions. Every dollar helps to grow this annual initiative.


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

“Warm & Fuzzy February” Brings Coziness to 262 Foster Youth

This year’s “Warm & Fuzzy February” campaign was a major success and supported 262 foster youth! Throughout the past year, dozens of individuals gathered to create hand-made blankets in preparation for our annual distribution of care packages stuffed with goodies to bring a sense of warmth to the children we support. Through the combined efforts of our volunteers and donors, the Foundation was able to provide 168 bags to children in foster care in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties including a new partnership with Duarte Unified School District. For older youth, we sent Regal Movie Theater gift cards to 94 teens currently in a residential therapeutic program.

In preparation for “Warm & Fuzzy February,” we sought the help of our dedicated community partners and put on several volunteering events to ensure we met our goal of supporting over 200 children in foster care. With the assistance of 87 volunteers putting in 250 hours of work, the Foundation was able to create hand-made cards for kids and fringe blankets for children ages 0-18. Aside from the huge effort of our volunteers, the Foundation was also able to get the help of several community partners.

It was a community effort making and collecting the items needed for our “Warm & Fuzzy February” care packages. Several different organizations including Foothill Country Day School, Upland HS Health Corps, students of the Occupational Therapy program at Loma Linda University, Claremont Farmers Insurance, Inland Empire United Way staff and UCR Circle K International participated by creating hand-made cards filled with messages of warmth and hope.

CSUF Alpha Phi Omega and Harvey Mudd’s “Mudders Making a Difference” (MMAD) donated hand-made blankets. And we received a surprise gift of dozens of scarves and beanies from volunteer Kathy Warth, who in her spare time, crochets from left over yarn.

The success of this campaign also involved conducting volunteer events in the community. We partnered with Sunrise Senior Living in Claremont, CA who donated the materials for the seniors to make hand-made fringe blankets during their recreation time and visited a team of 15 staff volunteers at Fairplex in Pomona, CA.

A “Warm & Fuzzy” care package wouldn’t be complete without a good book to curl up with. Supporters participated by contributing books to include in the packages. Brisa Sifuentes of the Claremont Little Free Library and 12-year-old book blogger, Zayda (AKA @babybibilophile), each used their Instagram following to contribute dozens of brand new books to our book drive portion of the campaign.

If you would like to help us continue this important work to help children affected by abuse, neglect and abandonment, please donate what you can. Every bit makes a difference!


Rebecca UstrellCommunity Outreach Coordinator
Becky acts as liaison for Children’s Foundation of America. On any given day she could be meeting with potential donors, coordinating a fundraising event, recruiting volunteers and forming partnerships with other nonprofits that can benefit from the help of our Foundation. Becky is currently studying sociology as well as fine art and helps organize the Claremont Art Walk. You will most likely find Becky working on freelance illustrations, playing the cello, mingling at a chamber of commerce event or volunteering in the community.
800-543-7730 | rustrell@trinityys.org

6 Beautifully Illustrated Children’s Books

Great children’s literature tackles complicated and multi-faceted issues that engage a child’s imagination and provide guidance to tough questions. In fact, UNICEF cites access to age-appropriate books as an essential part of a child’s development. Inspired by a blog by Maria Popova, here are six beautifully illustrated children’s books published in 2017:

Big Wolf & Little Wolf: A touching book of friendship and love between two solitary wolves. Big Wolf lives alone by his tree until Little Wolf shows up one day. Little Wolf begins to mirror Big Wolf in all his action, as Big Wolf’s heart slowly warms and opens. One day, when Big Wolf walks to his tree, Little Wolf is missing and he feels loneliness. When the two are reunited at the end of the story, they both learn an enduring lesson about friendship.

The Paper Flower Tree: A restored treasure, The Paper Flower Tree was created and illustrated by Society of Illustrators’ award winner Jacqueline Ayer for her own children. Written while Ayer lived in Thailand, the book’s main character, a young girl named Miss Moon, hopes to grow a paper tree. Her unyielding optimism and joy remain unbroken despite the cynicism of other villagers and in the face of doubt.

Sun and Moon: Sun and Moon is a compilation of ten Indian folk tales illustrated by tribal artists. These stories reveal the magic and mystery of the sun and moon and span grand themes such as time, being and love with a poetic simplicity ideal for children. Created by hand with traditional Indian dyes on silkscreen, this book introduces global artistic traditions to children.

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day: Boredom is a word abhorred in today’s world. However, children can create imaginative and wondrous adventures from nothing. This is precisely what happens to the main character of On a Magical Do Nothing Day. The young protagonist encounters nature, connecting with snails and digging in the dirt to discover small, hidden treasures.

Bertolt: The charming story of a tree named Bertolt and the boy who loved him. From his perch on Bertolt’s branches, the boy watches the secret life of his town unfold as spends many happy hours there throughout the seasons. Told by the boy, a self-described loner, the story takes on issues such as bullying, solitude and loss.

Here We Are: Starting with a view of the universe and zooming in, author Oliver Jeffers provides children with a thoughtful perspective our place within the universe. He shares the diversity of people, animals, and locations with fanciful illustrations that ignite the imagination. The scope of the book embraces all forms of life within the known universe and portrays humanity as a global village whose job it is to care for Earth.

Warm & Fuzzy February Book Drive

The Children’s Foundation of America is currently collecting books to include in our “Warm & Fuzzy February” care packages for children in foster care. To contribute to our book drive, please drop off brand-new, unused books to our office between Monday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 175 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Suite B-200, Claremont, CA 91711 by February 19, 2018. For more information, contact us at 909-426-0773 or email donations@trinityys.org.


Children's Foundation Kelly BaumannKelly BaumannAmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Kelly specializes in creating and optimizing digital content for the Children’s Foundation of America blog. She has ten years of experience as a marketer and has held a variety of positions including content writer, social media coordinator, public relations executive and content strategist. At Children’s Foundation of America, Kelly focuses on sharing stories and information to educate the public about the issues faced by children that Children’s Foundation of America serves.
Tel: (909)426-0773 | Email: kbaumann@trinityys.org

How to Help Children in Need to Succeed

While state and federal programs provide some of the basic necessities, non-profits are tasked with filling in the gap that exists between necessity and well-being. A UNICEF report on childhood deprivation outlined 14 essential items required for children to have a normal childhood. While this did include food, shelter and housing, it also included many items provided by the Children’s Foundation of America, such as:

  • Age-appropriate books suitable for knowledge level (not including schoolbooks).
  • Outdoor equipment such as bicycles, roller skates, scooters and skateboards.
  • Regular leisure activities including swimming, playing an instrument, participating in clubs and teams.
  • Indoor games to enhance learning and development.
  • Money to participate in school field trips and other enrichment activities.
  • Opportunity to celebrate special occasions such as holidays and birthdays.

Children in foster care, residential therapeutic and mental health programs often lack access to the essential developmental items listed above. The Children’s Foundation of America identifies and accesses resources for these children to learn, heal and thrive.

How to Bridge the Gap

Through community partnerships, volunteer programs and donations, the Children’s Foundation of America seeks to alleviate this problem by providing help to improve the overall well-being of children in need. To help the Children’s Foundation of America bridge the gap, visit the Get Involved page to volunteer, donate or participate in an awareness campaign to Be the Difference!


Children's Foundation Kelly BaumannKelly BaumannAmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Kelly specializes in creating and optimizing digital content for the Children’s Foundation of America blog. She has ten years of experience as a marketer and has held a variety of positions including content writer, social media coordinator, public relations executive and content strategist. At Children’s Foundation of America, Kelly focuses on sharing stories and information to educate the public about the issues faced by children that Children’s Foundation of America serves.
Tel: (909)426-0773 | Email: kbaumann@trinityys.org