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Volunteers help grandparents bring kids a bright Christmas

Volunteers from local organizations and law enforcement agencies shopped on Thursday in Oklahoma City for gifts for area children being raised by their grandparents.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: November 22, 2013
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Maxine Washington wove her shopping cart through countless Walmart aisles, shopping for children she has never met.

Somewhere, there are four teenagers who will open those gifts in a few weeks.

Washington was part of a large group of volunteers who spent a few hours Thursday shopping for Christmas presents for grandchildren who are being raised by their grandparents.

The effort is through a community partnership between Sunbeam Family Services, local law enforcement agencies and other community partners.

Through Sunbeam's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program, grandparents who are raising their grandchildren applied for holiday gift assistance for their grandchildren. About 225 families will benefit from the organizations' collaborative efforts.

In the U.S., an estimated 2.7 million grandparents were responsible in 2010 for the basic needs of one or more grandchildren under 18 living with them, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of these caregivers, 1.7 million were grandmothers and 1 million were grandfathers.

This was Washington's third time to help out. She was motivated to volunteer because she knows what it was like to raise a grandchild.

Washington helped raise her grandsons off and on, and remembers how difficult it could be.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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