This year has looked different for all us, as we’ve adapted to the ever-changing climate of COVID-19. While the Department of Human Services has remained flexible, our goal to make the holiday season brighter for Kern County foster children has remained the same.

To comply with current safety guidelines, our Holiday Cottage is going virtual for the first time in 33 years. Meaning, we need the community’s help now more than ever.

Because of generous donors with a heart for Kern County’s most vulnerable, the Department of Human Services has been able to bless thousands of foster children with Christmas gifts they wouldn’t have received otherwise. We sincerely want to thank our community members for 32 years of support. Without you, the Holiday Cottage would not be possible.

Like all of us here at DHS, we know the community is used to visiting a physical storefront and choosing a wish that they fulfill themselves. This year, we’d like to invite the community to consider joining us again in sponsoring a child’s holiday wish, just in a different way.

This time, The Department of Human Services staff will purchase the gifts with monetary donations received from our supporters. Instead of having our community members buy the physical gifts themselves like in years past, our staff will instead purchase the presents with the community’s donations to ensure the safest practices and eliminate unnecessary contact. At the end of December, our department will publish a list of all items purchased so the community can see each wish they helped fulfill.

Right now, we’re graciously accepting donations of any amount, however $50 grants one foster child’s holiday wish. To contribute, please visit and click on the “GIVE HERE” button by Nov. 20.

When debating if and how our department would navigate this year’s Holiday Cottage, it was never an option for us to cancel a program that makes this season come to life for Kern County foster children. Our community loves them just like we do, and together, I know we can make their year better by giving them a gift to unwrap on Christmas morning. That pleasure is something every child deserves!

Again, thank you so much for supporting the 33rd annual Holiday Cottage for its first virtual campaign. We are so blessed to live in a community with such giving hearts! 

Dena Murphy is the director of the Kern County Department of Human Services.

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