How Simplot Saved Christmas
A Big Thank You to Our 2022 Partner!
Fostering Christmas volunteers made the holiday season special for hundreds of foster children in 2022, and we have one particular group to thank for the year’s incredible success. Our local corporate sponsor Simplot did a lot of heavy lifting, with their employees purchasing hundreds of gifts to sit under Christmas trees. We couldn’t be more thankful for their dedication and enthusiasm for helping local children when they need support most.
A different employee resource group (ERG) at Simplot selects a holiday charity every year. When Tabby Fuerstenau’s group was up, she wanted to find a charity that “wasn’t as well known” as many large organizations.
“I liked that this charity was to help children in the foster care system,” Tabby told us in 2023. “The work was for people who can’t provide for themselves in their most vulnerable state. Christmas is the one time of year that’s all about being with your family. These kids are being separated at that time, and we wanted to ensure they felt cared about.”
Simplot employees were onboard with the organization from the start. “They were absolutely overjoyed,” Tabby said. Simplot organized the gift drive by asking Fostering Christmas for wish lists and attaching them as tags to a company Christmas tree. Employees could select a list from the tree and purchase the gifts, which Simplot collected in donation boxes on each floor.
Simplot committed to giving gifts to every child we sent them, even if the company had to pay for those presents out of corporate funds.
“It probably took about six coordinators,” Tabby said. “We’d collect the gifts, check them off, and deliver them to Fostering Christmas once a week.” Simplot committed to giving gifts to every child we sent them, even if the company had to pay for those presents out of corporate funds. “We also created an option for people to donate money so we could purchase gifts on their behalf,” Tabby explained.
Simplot employees reported a variety of motivations for getting involved, and many were emotional. “Many people wanted to find children near their own kids’ age, so they could teach them about giving back,” Tabby remembered. “A lot of them had a personal connection, and some people cried when they read the cards.”
Left: Gift donation box, Center: Lex Nelson and Nick Kasper presenting on behalf of Fostering Christmas, Right: Gifts under the tree at Simplot Headquarters
One donor, in particular, stood out. “A woman came up to me in tears and said there was a teen mom on the tree,” Tabby recalled. “She was a teen mom, too, and saw herself in the card. That’s why she selected it.” This volunteer remembered how difficult it was to be a young mother and wanted this girl to know she and her baby were supported and loved.
A new ESG at Simplot will select this year’s charity to support, but Tabby reported, “People still come up to me and say, ‘I know someone else gets to choose this year, but please remind everyone this charity is out there!’” Regardless, Tabby believes Fostering Christmas has found permanent new participants through its partnership with Simplot — herself included.
“We started to share the cause outside of the company and pushed family and friends to the website,” Tabby said. “My family has decided this is something we will support every year, from my parents, brother, and husband, to my aunts, uncles, and cousins. They all took a look and said, ‘We are very blessed, and we want to do this.’ The children of the Treasure Valley need more advocates.”
We’re incredibly grateful for Tabby and Simplot’s contribution in 2022, and we know they made Christmas magic happen for so many children. While they don’t know where the presents came from, we know the kids they touched appreciate it, too.
“Fostering Christmas impacts kids from generation to generation,” Tabby said. “They’re always going to remember getting something on Christmas at one of the lowest points in their lives.”