The Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association (CMFCAA) is spending the month of May, which has been named Foster Care Awareness Month, honoring everything and everyone involved with foster care.
"Foster Care Awareness Month celebrates the lives of abused and neglected children being protected and served by our caring communities," said DeAnna Alonso, executive director of CMFCAA. "Even more, it brings attention to the thousands of children who, without a loving foster home, would go into an institutionalized setting without the opportunity for family love, bonding and healing to occur."
CMFCAA is a non-profit that "educates, supports and advocates for foster and adoptive children, youth and families in Central Missouri by offering services and partnering with community and governmental agencies."
To raise awareness, CMFCAA is hosting Foster Family Appreciation Day, a Shakespeare's Pizza fundraiser and a swim wear drive.
To honor foster families, CMFCAA and One Simple Wish are hosting Foster Family Appreciation Day from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Baptist Church, 1120 Madison St. Foster families were invited to the event, which is RSVP only.
One Simple Wish is a nonprofit that was "created with the mission of brightening the lives of foster children and vulnerable families." Its main Wish Granting program allows people to impact the lives of foster children and foster families by granting them their wishes.
One Simple Wish will present the foster children with toys at the Appreciation Day event.
The event also includes carnival games, bounce houses, lunch, face painting and door prizes. Sponsors include Boone County Children's Division, Cole County Children's Division, Merrell University, Missouri Alliance for Children and Families, Missouri National Guard and Great Circle.
CMFCAA is hosting a Shakespeare's Pizza fundraiser May 23 in Columbia, with 15 percent of the restaurant's proceeds benefiting the nonprofit.
All menu items are eligible at the event, but patrons must present a flier at the time of purchase. Fliers can be found at www.facebook.com/FosterandAdopt.
CMFCAA is also hosting a swim wear drive. The organization has a clothing closet where foster families can find gently used items, but used swim wear is not accepted.
"The need for swim wear is not a need people often identify with foster care," Alonso said. "When these kids receive a gift, such as a new swim suit, it means a lot to them. They know someone thought about them, and it's something they can call their own."
StorageMart will accept swim suit donations in Columbia and Jefferson City throughout the month of May. All children's sizes are accepted.
CMFCAA's final event includes a fundraiser at Canterbury Hill Winery and Restaurant from 4-8 p.m. May 29, with 15 percent of the restaurant's proceeds benefiting CMFCAA. Wine and food takeout are included, as long as the orders are placed in person, not by phone.
For more information about CMFCAA or any of its events, visit www.ccfosteradopt.com or www.facebook.com/FosterandAdopt.