Hill AFB Airmen hand-deliver Christmas gifts to foster children and teens | News, Sports, Jobs

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Staff Sgt. Mikael Cunningham receives letters of thanks from children at the Anderson Home on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, during a visit as part of the Santa Brigade program.

Deborah Wilber, Standard Examiner

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Hill Air Force Base Airmen are pictured with Amy Wicks of Utah Foster Care, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, during the Santa Brigade’s annual toy giveaway program in Ogden.

Deborah Wilber, Standard Examiner

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The children of the Anderson household play with their new gifts delivered by Staff Sgt. Cunningham on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. The gifts were collected through donations to Utah Foster Care.

Deborah Wilber, Standard Examiner

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Hill Air Force Base Airmen load gifts to be delivered to foster children Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, as part of the annual Santa’s Brigade program in Ogden.

Deborah Wilber, Standard Examiner

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Staff Sgt. Mikael Cunningham speaks with children from the Anderson Home on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, while distributing gifts as part of the Santa Brigade program.

Deborah Wilber, Standard Examiner
















OGDEN — Airmen showed up in droves early Wednesday morning amid snowy and icy roads to hand-deliver Christmas gifts to foster children, a Hill Air Force Base tradition for 15 years.

Service members used their personal time off, vehicles and gasoline to bring joy to host families from Draper to Logan for a pair of Santa’s Brigade events in Murray and Ogden, along with some 900 gifts delivered altogether.

“Holidays can be tough on kids. Their faces light up with excitement as they see Airmen arriving home in full uniform,” Utah Foster Care CEO Mike Hamblin said in a press release.

About 100 Airmen volunteered for the Santa Claus Brigade this year. Staff Sgt. Mikael Cunningham said that every year there were more and more volunteers.

The last bag of gifts was picked up for delivery shortly after 9am. But for Cunningham and the foster family staff, there was one last stop: the Anderson family.

Michael and Cami Anderson are the adoptive parents of four children, including two siblings in the process of adoption. Amy Wicks, senior foster adoption consultant in northern Utah, says it’s very difficult to place siblings together.

According to Wicks, 80% of children are placed in foster care with at least one sibling. “It’s a lot less traumatic when you have a sibling with you,” she said.

While the Andersons admit that caring for 10 children is difficult, they said it was 100% worth it because they wanted to provide a foster home ready to take on siblings. The Andersons have been foster parents for more than two years with six children of their own.

UFC collects donations and gifts for foster families throughout the year to help foster parents who often spend money out of pocket to provide a merry Christmas.

Dan Webster, director of foster parent recruitment, says the holidays can be a tough time for kids and teens in foster care – as well as parents – and giving gifts is an important way to support them. .



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