The Toybox initiative and the Muslim Foster Care Association (MFCA) are partnering up this year to reach out to Muslim foster children in Michigan. Imagine a child that has to be removed from their own home because of neglect, abuse, or some other family tragedy and now has to live with a family that does not share their faith, culture, or language. This is the unfortunate reality for many Muslim children who, through no fault of their own, have to enter the foster care system. MFCA works to support these children and the foster families that care for them, while also allowing for these children to maintain a connection with their faith. Together, Toybox and MFCA hope to provide Muslim foster youth in Michigan with the opportunity to enjoy and cherish their Islamic holiday season by supplying toys and educational resources to nourish both their fun and free time.
Ramadan is a time when most children look forward to the special foods, family gatherings, and masjid congregations. It is, however, an especially difficult time for Muslim foster children, many of whom are currently placed in homes of other faiths.
While our children look forward to family gatherings, special foods, congregational prayers, and gifts, Ramadan can be an especially difficult time for Muslim foster children. Imagine trying to fast in an environment where everyone is eating around you, trying to wake up for suhoor when everyone else is sleeping, or breaking fast alone.
Eid is also a difficult time for foster children. Many are faced with the realization that they will not be celebrating with their biological family members. Many wake up on Eid, with no gifts, no new clothes, and no one to take them to the masjid or Eid celebrations.
This is the reality for many local Muslim children who are placed in unrelated foster homes, group homes, or residential facilities. Even those foster children who are placed with relatives struggle around the holidays, as relatives generally do not receive funding to care for these children and often cannot afford to purchase gifts or Eid clothes.
No child should be left without loved ones. Our aim is to remind the children that they are not forgotten. There are people standing behind them, extending their love, prayers, support, and help whenever and wherever it is needed.
In our community alone, there are over 80 Muslim children in the foster care system, along with refugee children, bringing the number to over 140 children. The majority of the children are placed in a non- Muslim homes and/or centers.
YOU can make a difference by joining this effort!
Our hope with this project is to bring some joy into the lives of these children during this special time, and in a small way, show them that we care.
WHAT WE DO: We first ask every each child what they want for Ramadan and Eid by working with the social workers. The social workers report back to us with their needs and wants are.
WHAT YOU DO: Our donors and community members are the most important piece after the children. We ask that you 1) donate and 2) spread the word. All proceeds donated go into creating individualized gift baskets for the children.
THE GIFT PACKAGES: $100 =Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha gift for 1 child.
This money covers the cost of clothing, shoes, books, toys, and a personal element relating to the child’s interest. We also provide prayer beads, Quran’s, and hijabs on request.
Some of the items on the Eid Wish List this year include gift cards, Muslim dolls, and Remote Control cars, with the total gift package valued at over $75 per child.