Girl Donates Birthday Money to Purchase Toys for Foster Kids

What a generous little girl! Last year, she and her family helped at Friends of Foster Kids and it truly touched her heart. It made such an impression on  her that she took the money she received for her birthday and bought toys for the foster kids! A special thank you to our special angels for your donations.

FOFK provides Christmas for foster children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect and placed in temporary housing or shelters. FOFK fulfills each child’s wish list with new items wrapped with care and then works to ensure timely delivery for Christmas.

If you would like to find out how you can make a difference in the life of a foster child at Christmas, please contact us at and stay connected with us year round on social media, Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!


A Note from the Founder:

Spirit of Christmas! “Thirteen fifty three”

For 2016, we are excited to report, over thirteen hundred fifty three foster children felt the impact of your generosity and caring! It is breathtaking to realize that each and every child can believe they matter, as they receive a Christmas made especially for them, by Angels like you! Thank you…Thank you…Thank you!!!

Hats off to Grads!

In April, we kickoff our Hats off to Grads program. This program is designed to assist graduate foster kids transition into college dorm life or independent living. Imagine moving from house to house and school to school, without the love and support of a stable family environment, or reliable friends. Yet, each of these graduates had the fortitude to achieve academic success, while coping with these insurmountable odds. Recognizing their extraordinary accomplishment is paramount.

Please email us at to sponsor a graduate’s list of needs.
Together we are changing lives…one child at a time!

Hats off to Grads Class of 2017

We kick off the program for graduates from Macomb and Oakland counties in April and then by June 9th, the collections will be sorted/ organized for a one-time distribution at their June celebration.

Sponsoring a graduate entails purchasing specific items that the graduate would need, it can vary from graduate to graduate depending if they will be going to college, starting a trade school or setting up independent living. Along with receiving a bio on the graduate you will receive their wish list stating the items they will need. Items could range from graphing calculators, bedding, mini fridges and microwaves to personal care items, household items, laundry and cleaning supplies to storage bins.

Donors can sponsor a graduate on their own or with family members, friends or group of friends! Through out the year some donors have also purchased generic items such as the storage bins and linens as they find them on sale.

Please email or call 586-307-GIFT (4438) if you can help! Angels, like you, make this important program a success!!


On going:

Kroger Community Rewards –

Amazon Smile – https://

Thrivent Choice Member – FoFK can be selected with your Thrivent Choice dollars

PayPal – https://


4-27 Alex & Ani Fundraiser – Shop for a Cause

6-9pm The Mall at Partridge Creek


5-1 Hats Off to Grads! kick off – Please call for a student’s wish list to fulfill. Items purchased due by June 9th

5-24 BD Mongolian BBQ – Celebrity Chefs

6-9pm Hall Rd, Sterling Heights Hosted by Central Macomb Optimist Club

5-28 Marching in the St Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade


6-11 6th Annual Tom Powers Charity Classic – Castle Creek Golf Club Scramble with prizes – 8:30 checkin


10-26 4th Annual Fall Fundraiser – San Marino Club – Troy


11-1 Spirit of Christmas Program

Sponsor a Christmas for a foster child. Be one of Santa’s Angels!

Download a PDF of the Friends of Foster Kids April Newsletter 2017 APRIL Newsletter, and email to receive the newsletter to your email inbox.

Shelving Inc Celebrates #GivingTuesday At Friends Of Foster Kids

Shelving Inc Celebrates #GivingTuesday At Friends Of Foster Kids

Originally Published by The Shelving Guy Blog –December 1, 2015

Theresa FOFK

Since 2007, Friends of Foster Kids has donated over 10,000 presents each holiday season to children who are in foster care, and in need. The charity was founded by Theresa Toia, who’s daughter Jessica is a caseworker for foster children in Macomb County, Michigan. Jessica expressed concern to her mother when her entire caseload of children were not receiving a Christmas for the second year in a row due to the recession, and most had never experienced a Christmas at all. Theresa immediately wanted to find a way to help, and teamed up with her friends to start the charity and begin receiving wishlists from foster kids all over Southeast Michigan.


Solely through donations and volunteering, Friends of Foster Kids has annually helped an estimated 1,000 foster kids each holiday season. While many are infants and children, FoFK has also reached out to teenagers and young adults who have lived their life in foster care and are still struggling to find a place to live and afford everyday essentials.


Caseworkers work with the kids to carefully craft wishlists of three or four presents they’d like the most. Through the goodness of their hearts, volunteers pick up a list and seek out as many presents as they can. Then, the presents are brought to FoFK where volunteers carefully wrap each present and add extra essentials to their stockings like blankets, coats, handmade scarves and more.


Mike Schodowski, our Vice President of Sales, met Theresa earlier this year and was moved after learning about the charity and why she started it. He asked how he could help, and Shelving Inc donated 25 rivet shelving units to store donations and presents at the Friends of Foster Kids headquarters. Theresa was extremely grateful and said keeping everything organized and easy-to-find has been incredibly helpful.


If you’d like to help a foster child in need, volunteer or donate please contact Friends of Foster Kids. They accept donations year-round and try to help just as often, too. Celebrate #GivingTuesday by giving back, too!



Originally Published BY  in the Henry Ford II Athletics News — 



Mr. Ledbetter and Coach Steinwascher received this note and photos from “Friends of Foster Kids” aboutFALCON athletes and parents stepping up to help where needed!  WELL DONE FALCONS!

Teri & Dave,
We cannot thank you enough for being our Angel Volunteers!

I am forever grateful for the last second help that you supplied for us at “Friends of Foster Kids“. We were extremely impressed at the attitudes, work ethic, and respect of the students that helped us on Sat.

The time, energy and enthusiasm shown to the athletes by you, Henry and the parent volunteers shows a wonderful example of compassion and goodwill.

Teri-I have attached a few of the pictures we took, but I’m sure yours are much better. Please make sure these pictures, and the story behind the pictures, are shared with whoever manages the Falcon websites and newspapers.

Lisa Larson
Friends of Foster Kids

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Friends of Foster Kids Fundraiser

Friends of Foster Kids Fundraiser


Sterling Heights, MI (WXYZ) – Michigan has more than 3,000 children in the foster care system hoping and waiting to be adopted.

The Macomb County based “Friends of Foster Kids” is trying to support them.

You can help their cause this weekend.

The organization is holding its annual fundraiser Thursday October 29th at the Freedom Hill Banquet Center.

Tickets are $100 and can be purchased by calling (586) 307-GIFT.

More information can be found online:

Theresa Toia Columbus Day Humanitarian of the Year

Theresa Toia Columbus Day Humanitarian of the Year


By: The Italian American Cultural Society

Theresa Toia

Theresa Toia will be honored as Columbus Day Humanitarian of the Year. The owner/operator of Franklin Interiors, Inc., specializing in Interior Design and Decoration for residential and commercial properties, she previously served as the 2008 President of the Columbus Day Celebration Committee. She has been, as she says, “enhancing living and work environments” for over 27 years.

Being very active in the community, she is also president of various sports organizations. Toia is a member of the Americans of Italian Origin Society, Ladies of Harley-Wolverine Chapter, the Father Solanus Guild and the Gorgeous Smorgeous Girls Ladies Charity Club. Having served as a Director on the Shelby Community Foundation for severalyears, Toia has also been the vice chair of this 501c (3) foundation and served as chair of the Development Committee, building relationships in the community.

In 2006, after hearing heart-breaking stories from her daughter, a case worker working in the social services system, Theresa Toia and friends, Karen Szczotka and Michele Little of Shelby Township started “Friends of Foster Kids.” Thousands of Metro Detroit foster children go without Christmas gifts each year. When most local kids are opening their X-boxes and iPods, many children in the foster care system receive nothing at all. Solely through donations and volunteers, the non-profit group has worked to provide a Christmas for Macomb County foster children, and let them know that they are not forgotten, for the past five holiday seasons.

Toia is happily married to her husband Joseph Toia, an attorney, who was recently named to the Macomb County Circuit Court. They have two daughters, Jessica (Toia) Rossow and Marissa Toia. Theresa Toia enjoys a wonderful relationship with all three of her grandchildren Joseph, Michael and Abigayle. In 2008, Michael was Young Columbus. Toia is very proud of her Italian heritage and the opportunity to promote and celebrate its traditions.

Bringing Christmas to those who need it

Bringing Christmas to those who need it

Group makes sure kids in foster care receive presents

Originally published in C & G Newspapers – November 3, 2014

BY: Sarah Wojcik

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The nonprofit group Friends of Foster Kids is looking for volunteers to “adopt” a foster child or two this Christmas by sponsoring their wish lists, wrapping presents, donating or just lending a helping hand where needed.

With about 769 foster children in the Macomb County system and 181 licensed foster homes, Friends of Foster Kids Director Theresa Toia said many children shuffle through temporary foster homes, shelters and group homes, and receive little to nothing for Christmas.

“They’re placed all over, as far out as Saginaw and Kalamazoo, so all of the local foster children are not only removed from their families and everything they know in this world, but now they’re removed from their friends from school, and that’s the sadness of it,” Toia said.

She said many foster kids have few material possessions and that some have never experienced a “proper” Christmas before, so they don’t know what to ask for. She said foster care workers work with their caseloads to identify three or four items they would like and also include the kids’ interests and passions.

“They are victims of abuse and neglect,” Toia said. “They did nothing wrong to be in this situation, and most people forget that.”

Since beginning Friends of Foster Kids in 2007 as a grassroots operation out of her Shelby Township basement after being inspired by her daughter’s caseload of foster kids receiving nothing for Christmas, Toia said the organization has grown exponentially.

She estimated that hundreds of volunteers help about 1,000 foster children each Christmas.

Kristine Powers, the volunteer coordinator with Friends of Foster Kids, said she has been on board since the operation established its roots and that most of the expansion spread through word-of-mouth.

“It’s a really great feeling (to help these kids),” she said. “So many of us have kids of our own. I can’t imagine what these kids have been through.”

Powers said that from Dec. 3-17, Friends of Foster Kids is looking for volunteers to wrap presents at the Foam Factory, located at 23 Mile and Romeo Plank roads in Macomb Township, in two-hour shifts from noon-8 p.m. weekdays and from noon-6 p.m. Saturdays.

To find out more information about Friends of Foster Kids or upcoming fundraisers, To get involved with volunteering or assisting financially, email

Foster organization receives boost from Scouts

Foster organization receives boost from Scouts


13 year old Meghan Lytle of Washington Township and student at Malow Junior High School from Cadette Troop #70047 in Shelby Township speaking to elementary school students about her community service project.
13 year old Meghan Lytle of Washington Township and student at Malow Junior High School from Cadette Troop #70047 in Shelby Township speaking to elementary school students about her community service project.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Friends of Foster Kids, a Shelby-based nonprofit group, works year-round to provide items to foster children in southeast Michigan.

Since December, four local Cadette Girl Scouts endeavored to create a race and family fun day at River Bends Park May 3 to benefit the Friends of Foster Kids. The Scouts started the initiative to earn the Silver Award, the second-highest award in Girl Scouts.

Meghan Lytle, Emma Kohler-Lewis, Allison Creek and Kayla Colussi put in more than 200 hours to plan and organize the event.

The 5k run/walk will take place at 8 a.m., and the family-fun event will take place from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and include carnival games, police finger printing, police and fire demonstrations, a princess meet-and-greet, music, face painting, and more.

The girls also will be collecting donations of pajamas, socks, underwear, winter clothing, toiletries, twin sheets, blankets, pillows and grants for Friends of Foster Kids.

For the past three years, Girl Scouts leader Sue Lytle said she and her troop have wrapped Christmas presents and sponsored foster children through the organization.

“I love the fact that it’s children helping children. There’s a certain symmetry to it that’s beautiful,” said Friends of Foster Kids Director Theresa Toia. “This was a huge undertaking for these ladies, and I’m impressed with everything they’ve done thus far.”

Toia said her organization assists upwards of 900 children annually who live in temporary homes or foster care after being removed from situations of abuse and neglect.

“I can’t even believe what these children have had to endure,” Toia said. “After you meet one child that has received a gift or help in some form, you realize the huge impact it has on these children to know they’re not alone and not forgotten, and there are people that do care out there.”

Toia said the organization was born when her daughter, a foster care caseworker, said that her whole caseload of children did not receive Christmas presents for the second year in a row during the recession.

Through word of mouth, hundreds of volunteers donated time and items to create specifically tailored Christmas wish lists to more children each year. Now, the organization supplies children with items year-round.

With children “aging out” of the foster care system, a large portion of the work the organization does also is directed at supplementing children’s apartments and dorm rooms.

“I feel like we’re slowly changing how people live,” Kohler-Lewis said. “To know that we’re helping people (is my favorite part). We’re not just doing it for ourselves.”

For more information about Friends of Foster Kids, visit or email

To register for the race, visit and search “Friends of Foster Kids 5K Angels Run.” River Bends Park is located at 5700 22 Mile Road.

COUNTY: Nonprofit to provide gifts for nearly 900 foster kids this holiday season

COUNTY: Nonprofit to provide gifts for nearly 900 foster kids this holiday season



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Some might argue that Santa’s workshop isn’t at the North Pole, but rather it’s located off 23 Mile Road in Macomb Township.

A small workshop tucked within the former Nachi Machining Building is the temporary home to Friends of Foster Kids, a Macomb County nonprofit whose mission is to provide wrapped Christmas gifts for children in foster care.

This isn’t a small operation. Theresa Toia, director of Friends of Foster Kids, said the nonprofit will give presents to approximately 900 foster children and young adults this year.
The nonprofit works closely with foster care workers from the Department of Human Services and other agencies, who provide “wish lists” for kids in their care. The lists usually include a child’s name, age, gender, size and a few items the child wants or needs for Christmas.

“It’s more than a Christmas gift. It’s knowing that someone cares, that they (foster children) are not alone, and knowing that there are people who will help. These kids have no family; we are their family,” Toia said.

Needed items range from winter coats, hats and mittens, to sheets, pillowcases and even things such as new underwear and pillows. Items the children wish for may include anything from a new bicycle to an electronic tablet.

A young adult is in foster care until age 21 and wish lists for young people may include new tires, household items and even expensive electronic devices, which one might use to develop skills or even find a job.

Friends of Foster Kids accepts donations of new toys, clothes, personal care products and more at its office at Nachi, 17500 23 Mile Road. Drop-off hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The group also accepts cash from service clubs, businesses and individuals to buy items. Toia and partner Karen Szczotka may ask retailers for discounts, or shop for items year-round to find the best prices.

The items are stored, sorted and wrapped at the Friends of Foster Kids office, which moves to a new workshop location every year. Toia started the nonprofit out of her home in 2007 after learning from her daughter, a foster care case worker, that there were a number of foster kids who didn’t receive Christmas presents.

Toia teamed with Szczotka and the nonprofit continued to grow until they were unable to operate out of Toia’s home. The duo search for donated warehouse or office space every year to run the nonprofit.

It’s in that donated space that the Christmas magic begins for Macomb County foster kids. Numerous new toys, racks of new coats, games, bins of clothes and hat-and-scarf sets, and even a small room of bicycles await preparation.

Volunteers – whom Toia calls Christmas angels – spend weeks prior to Christmas going over wish lists, shopping, wrapping and bagging items for case workers, who deliver wrapped gifts to the foster kids.

“I am fortunate that I was always able to provide for my son. I feel there are too many kids out there that need things that people can’t afford to buy them. I feel we should help,” said volunteer Sophia Uhlman, who spent an afternoon wrapping gifts.

While the nonprofit always welcomes volunteers and donations, the public has the opportunity to help Friends of Foster Kids and have fun. On Dec. 21, Sky Zone, a new indoor trampoline park located at 50810 Sabrina Dr. in Shelby Township, will host a fundraiser for the nonprofit in which they will donate $7 of the $14 they charge for one hour of bounce time. The community is welcome to bounce anytime during the day.

Donations of new gifts, cash, wrapping paper, ribbon, boxes and supplies are always needed. For information or to shop for a specific item, call Friends of Foster Kids at 586-307-4483, or visit the website at or its Facebook page.