Two Wetumpka teenagers are doing what they can to help ensure that other teens in foster care don't feel left out or forgotten during the holidays.
Over the past few months, Abigail Wright and her brother Allen Wright have been working hard to gather donations for teenagers in foster care. On Thursday, the siblings met with representatives with the Elmore County Department of Human Resources to deliver $505 in gift cards.
Abigail Wright said she got the idea to collect donations for teens in foster care after finding out the Wetumpka Police Department's toy drive for children in need had been canceled due to COVID-19.
"We wanted to make sure the older kids got gifts as well because sometimes they're overlooked," Abigail Wright said.
Abigail first got some hands-on experience with the police department's toy drive when she was crowned the 2019 Teen Miss Christmas on the Coosa. She was the first runner up in this year's competition, but the 11th-grader said she still wanted to find a way to help in any way that she could.
"Community service doesn't start or end with crown," she said. "I want to always try to help those who may be less fortunate than I am."
When Abigail got started with the project in September, her younger brother Allen decided he wanted to help also. The two got busy reaching out to family, teachers and friends seeking gift card donations. They received gift cards for local businesses like Subway, Dairy Queen, Domino's, McDonald's, Taco Bell and Walmart.
DHR director Michelle Wood said it can be difficult to get enough donations for older children i foster care because they want the same things that other teens typically ask for.
"Older kids tend to want more expensive things, like Nike's, Jordans and Air Pods," Wood said. "It's harder to get those things donated. We really like gift cards for out teens because it gives them some independence to choose what they want to buy."
Foster care supervisor Carter Taunton said there are 30 teenagers in foster care who will benefit from the donation.
"We're really appreciative when people reach out to us, especially for our older kids," said foster care worker Brianna Juarez. "It can be fun to shop for small kids, but out teens are still kids too and that want nice things the same as other kids their age."
Mona Wright, Abigail and Allen's mother, said she couldn't be prouder of her kids.
"I want them to know they're here for a bigger purpose than just for a job when they grow up," she said. "They are here to help others no matter how small or how great."