Sandy Case president of the South Island Foster Parents Association is seeking donations for the fourth annual Foster Children's Christmas Shopping Night

Kids learn giving while shopping in Colwood

Being in foster care can be tough no matter the time of year; Christmas can be overwhelming.

Being in foster care can be tough no matter the time of year; Christmas can be overwhelming.

Helping children in the foster-care system stay connected with families is a priority says Sandy Case, president of South Island Foster Parents Association. A foster parent for more than 18 years, Case is among the creators of the Foster Children’s Christmas Shopping Night on Tuesday.

“A lot of older children carry some guilt about being in foster care. When they can give their parents gifts they feel like they are telling their parents they haven’t forgotten about them,” Case said.

Kids in the system can shop for new or gently used gifts.

“We do this to empower the children to still feel connected to their families. In most cases there are a lot of visits with their families,” said Nicola MacKay, association treasurer. “A lot of the children haven’t had a real Christmas before. This enables them to learn what Christmas is actually about.”

Children’s eyes light up when they are able to purchase gifts for loved ones, MacKay said.

“They hand me items saying ‘Hide this from my sibling.’”

The volunteer-run annual event relies on fundraising and donations.

The fourth annual Foster Children’s Christmas Shopping Night is Dec. 10 at West Shore Health Unit, 345 Wale Rd. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Foster families from across Greater Victoria are encouraged to attend.

For more information or to donate gifts or wrapping supplies email case at slcase@shaw.ca.