Christmas gifts for needy children stolen from DHR - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Christmas gifts for needy children stolen from DHR

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Christmas gifts for children served by the organization were stolen from a storage building overnight. Christmas gifts for children served by the organization were stolen from a storage building overnight.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Huntsville Police are investigating the burglary of the Department of Human Resources office on Bob Wallace Avenue.

Tonita Phipps, Director of Madison County DHR, said Christmas gifts for children served by the organization were stolen from a storage building overnight.

Terry Bell with the Foster Children's Alliance, or FOCAL, made the discovery Monday morning. "It made me sick to my stomach, to my heart," Bell said. Electronics were the main focus of the theives' haul - iPods, computers, laptops, tablets, cameras - all gone.

Passing out donated Christmas presents has been a bright spot for FOCAL, DHR, and the families they serve; about 230 children are in foster care around Madison County, children who would otherwise get nothing.

"A lot of times children have disappointments when they're in foster care. It's wonderful just to see the smiles on the children's faces, to be able to get things that they requested," Phipps said.

Phipps said that even though they were being stored in a warehouse, every item in that warehouse was a personal gift. "They had been collected specifically for children who are in foster care who are in need. Providers donated their hard-earned money to purchase gifts for these children, and now it's been taken away from them," she said.

Caseworker Nicole Davis said she was sad that she may have to tell several of the kids she works with that she will have nothing to give them. She hopes the gravity of the theft somehow dawns on the crooks behind it.

"The only thing I can do is pray," she said, "that they realize what they've done and they make it right. That's the only way I'm getting through this at this point."

FOCAL reported the losses to HPD of over $4,000 in merchandise. They are working with donors in the hopes of replacing the gifts in time for Christmas.

They are also asking for donations from the public to help turn this situation around quickly. For ways you can help a child in need this holiday season, visit FOCAL's website.

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