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Jen Lilley Partners with Toys for Tots’ Year-Round Foster Care Initiative

Photo from Jen Lilley’s Instagram

Jen Lilley Partners with Toys for Tots’ Year-Round Foster Care Initiative

By Movieguide® Contributor

While Toys for Tots is known for its Christmastime giving, Great American Family star Jen Lilley is partnering with the charity to support families and children in the foster care system year-round.

“[This] means a lot to me because I will tell you that, you know, people who are in foster care for the right reasons, 50% of them burn out within the first year. I almost burned out,” Lilley said. “I was totally in it for the right reasons, you know. Thank goodness I was able to adopt two of my children out of foster care.”

“So my heart was always in it, but foster care is so emotionally and mentally and spiritually and physically exhausting beyond what people can understand, and so when you all come alongside people who are in foster care, whether it’s the children or the resource parents or even the families whose children are in care, you’re making a profound impact,” she continued. “It’s so much more than just putting on a fun event. It’s a ripple effect.”

Toys for Tots launched its foster care initiative in 2022 to provide year-round support to those who find themselves in the system. It has since touched over 3,000 children whose lives have been turned upside down by uncertainty and anxiety.

“When I became President and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, I knew we could be more than a Christmastime charity,” said LtGen James Laster, CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “Part of that was to assist foster families and foster children. I wanted to involve the entire community to assist us in providing items such as backpacks and educational toys, books, and other gifts.”

Despite the difficulties of foster care, Jen Lilley remains a strong advocate for adoption, encouraging those interested to take classes to understand what they would be undertaking.

Movieguide® previously reported:

GAF and Hallmark star Jen Lilley is opening up about the lessons adoption can teach us. 

“It’s really taught me about how, when Jesus says we’re ‘grafted in,’ how greatly he means that,” she told Christian Headlines. “We are grafted in, and we are heirs…with Jesus, with the Jewish people. So that’s what it’s taught me is that God loves us the same and that’s really humbling and astounding in every way.”

Lilley and her husband, Jason Wayne, have adopted two sons, Kayden and Jeffrey. They’re also parents to two daughters, Julie and Jacquelin. 

“I don’t look at my boys any different than I look at my girls,” Lilley said. “I forget that I didn’t carry them in my body.”

Lilley is a major advocate for the foster system, as well as adoption.


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