WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – The House of the Good Shepard’s Holiday Hopes Gift Campaign provides gifts, necessities and meals for children and their families.

The House of the Good Shepard is looking to reach its goal and provide holiday experiences “full of joy” for children and families. Their goal for this year’s campaign is to provide holiday cheer to almost 800 children and many of their families throughout New York State.

Donations can be made on their website in the form of:

  • donating $75 or more;
  • shopping online from one of their holiday wish lists and having the gifts delivered right to them;
  • purchasing a $25 Gift Card for children in foster care;
  • sponsoring an in-person or virtual gift tree at your company, organization, church, or school; and/or
  • supporting The Spirit of Josh Fund, in memory of Josh Zbytniewski, which raises money for recreation and outdoor activities for the children all year long.

We sat down with Brian McKee, CEO and President of the House of the Good Shepherd, to discuss the organization and what they do.

“The House of the Good Shepherd’s mission is simple; it’s just changing children’s lives,” McKee said. “We’re in the business of trying to influence people, trying to reach them in ways that sometimes they haven’t been reached before and so sometimes it’s seeing somebody get the help that they need finally, right, or taking a step that they need to take. Sometimes it’s seeing a youth get to a place where they’re getting all their needs met.”

McKee said the North Country community is special and so are the people who work there. He said the appreciation they receive from the community is “heartwarming.”

“We want to go to the places where we’re needed the most.”

Brian McKee, CEO and President of the House of the Good Shepherd

With House of the Good Shepherd serving 150 families just in the North Country, they provide children with things that make them feel like everybody else. McKee spoke about why it’s important that children have Christmas gifts and how they face difficult cultural issues.

“They are constantly seeing that they have less and they must internalize that to some degree. That’s about their worthiness, to have more,” McKee said. “This enables them to be just like everybody else. The families to have the same things that other typical families have throughout the year. If they can’t have it all year long, then they can have it at the end of December.”

McKee also spoke about the need for foster parents. According to McKee, if a prospective foster parent can care for a child like they are their own; along with a few other criteria and a background check, those applicants will be good foster parents. Those wishing to become foster parents can find the application on The House of the Good Shepard’s website.

The House of the Good Shepard is a provider of treatment, education and support programs to children and families in the communities they serve.