Healthy Start needs sponsors to help provide Christmas to children

Posted 11/29/22

The Okeechobee Healthy Start Coalition developed the Giving Tree Community Christmas program...

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Healthy Start needs sponsors to help provide Christmas to children


OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee Healthy Start Coalition developed the Giving Tree Community Christmas program in 2020 to provide high-risk clients in their program with Christmas gifts for each child in the home. After seeing an increase in obstacles and struggles the clients faced while they navigated through the pandemic, Healthy Start decided to ask the community for help. They requested the community’s support on a Facebook post and the rest is history.

The Healthy Start Giving Tree Program allows for one stressor to be lifted from these high-risk clients and families. This program is fully run by community support, local donors and small businesses’ private toy drives. Last year, Healthy Start asked the community for help again. Okeechobee did not let them down. The amount of community support and contributions increased! The Giving Tree Program was able to provide Christmas to all 127 of Healthy Start’s children, all 101 Parents as Teachers’ children and all 142 Healthy Families’ Children.

We are currently asking for your support. This year, all three home visiting programs have compiled 347 children that are in need of a gift this holiday. Of those children, only 107 have been sponsored at this time.

We are overjoyed and so appreciative of our community’s dedication and generosity in serving our high-risk children. It makes our hearts so full to see all the sponsors starting to deliver their gifts to the office. We have so much to be thankful for this year. One of our biggest blessings is being located in such a small, giving, caring and compassionate community that helps us impact the most in need families. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank our sponsors and donors tremendously. As the gifts keep coming in, our Healthy Start team can’t put into words how grateful we are for this small community. It’s been a tough year for most individuals but our sponsors, community and local businesses made it their personal mission to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas morning, and we will forever be grateful for that. If you are interested in sponsoring a child or a family this holiday season, please email us at or call the Healthy Start office at 863-462-5877.

As Okeechobee’s Maternal and Child Health Advocate, the main goal of Healthy Start is to lower risk factors associated with preterm birth, low birth weight, infant mortality, and poor developmental outcomes. Healthy Start wants to utilize this grant to promote health and economic equity by ensuring nutritionally vulnerable, underserved populations have access to evidence-based nutrition interventions. If you are pregnant or have a child up to the age of 3, please call our Connect program at 863-824-0448 for support. We will help you navigate motherhood whether it’s your first or fifth... because we all know every baby is different. A call can connect you to free education and support unique to you and your family’s needs such as: prenatal nutrition and childbirth education, breastfeeding and car seat safety, in-person support, developmental milestone information and so much more.

healty start, christmas, gifts, children