Kids in foster care often spend their holiday without their families or loved ones. But for some a special program called "Home for the Holidays" is paying for kids in the foster care system to fly and see their relatives for the holiday, including a few extras for the trip.
For Daeshaunae Wooden, 12, there's nothing more exciting than cruising down the aisles of Target with an empty cart. She doesn't get to do this very often.
She's busy looking at everything the junior's section has to offer.
"Sweaters, jeans, boots, a jacket, a coat," she said walking down the aisles. "When i get like other money, to buy clothes, for winter wear, it's really exciting."))
While other kids may be getting ready for Santa, Eckerd social workers are here giving Dae a free shopping spree. But she's not getting gifts. Instead, she's getting winter wear for a Christmas trip to Chicago. This will be the first time Dae has seen her extended family in months. They can't take care of her full time.
"She's spent a long time in foster care and she gets to go and see her family just a couple of times a year," said Abby Hawkins, an Eckerd Family Connections Specialist. "t's really special when she gets to spend time with her grandma and her aunt."
"I get to spend time with my family and I don't really get to see them a lot.," Wooden said.
But these social workers also want to make sure she feels equal to her Chicago cousins by giving her the proper clothes to fit right in with the Midwest's chilly weather.
"She can just join her family as a regular kid and I think sometime she may not always feel that way," Hawkins said.
Taking nearly $200 in new clothes to the checkout line, Dae can't believe she's really going to Chicago. She's grateful to these social workers who made it possible for her to be with family.
"Whenever I go up there, I like to cherish our time together," she said.
These visits, however few and far between, mean a lot to her.