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They did it for the foster kids

by MAUREEN DOLAN
Staff Writer | December 17, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - They don't want accolades or pats on the back.

That's not why representatives from local NAPA Auto Parts stores and car care centers let the media know they were dropping off a truck full of gifts Wednesday at Idaho Health and Welfare's Coeur d'Alene office.

"We want people to know that there are a lot of foster kids out there who need help all year long," said Becky Shields, who works with Coeur d'Alene Auto Parts, Rathdrum Auto Parts and Hayden Auto Parts.

Local NAPA workers have been collecting toys and gifts for needy kids in North Idaho since 1999.

Members of the Odenthal family, who have owned the NAPA outlets in Kootenai County since 1952, got the program started when they told their employees that as bosses, they didn't want any gifts from their employees.

"Our bosses told us if we did anything, we should do it for someone who needs it," Shields said.

The employees started by adopting one family and collecting gifts for them.

This year, there are donations for nearly 80 families.

"It's a pay-it-forward situation," Shields said.

Tables in the Health and Welfare office's conference room were loaded with gift bags and boxes. There were toys, clothes and donations of food.

"These foster children - the faith, hope and love they might have had, for many of them, has been smashed," Shields said. "It's not their fault. They're our future. We have to show them we care, give them a pat on the back, something to have a little fun with."

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