It’s the final weekend this year of Clark’s Christmas Kids--the last opportunity you have to buy Christmas gifts for Georgia’s foster kids.
Shimaine Quimbley, 22, is a former foster child who aged out of the foster care system last year. She is among those who have benefited from the program now in its 29th year.
“Christmas didn’t start getting exciting until I was like 13… I think I was in my fourth or fifth placement at that time. When I started receiving Christmas gifts, I thought they were rewarding me or something,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
>>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW.
Quimbley, who entered the system at age 8, didn’t receive any gifts many of those years.
“Some years I would get like one or two things, so that meant I was always grateful. It was just overwhelming. If I had a gift… it was the best day ever,” she says.
Jordan Delutis, who at age 18 is still in the system, was 7 when he came in with his four siblings.
“Christmas to me was everything. Just the excitement of waking up that day and going downstairs and seeing gifts with my name on it and opening them,” he says.
It was especially joyful when he could be together with his brothers and sisters.
“I had a younger brother. He always looked up to me. So, just seeing him happy because of the gifts he got made me happy,” says Delutis, who was also grateful for the ones he received himself.
He didn’t know at the time that many of those presents where donated through Clark’s Christmas Kids.
“At the time, I thought it was my foster parents--which they did give me some. But now knowing there’s other people out there thinking about kids like us, it means a lot,” says Delutis.
He is now a sophomore at Georgia Military College majoring in Biology.
Quimbley, who also went on to college, now helps other youth navigate their way through the foster system and makes sure every Christmas is special.
“I promised myself that I was going to treat Christmas like the best Christmas ever,” she says. “So, every year, starting last year, I went and I bought myself tons of gifts…because I’ve never had somebody really give me a Christmas. I really means everything… it’s just a good feeling.”
WSB’s Clark Howard will be accepting donations at the Walmart on Windward Parkway in Alpharetta and the one on Sardis Church Road in Buford Friday from 2-7pm. For a list of all donation sites: