Hallmark actress Jen Lilley is partnering with home décor company Balsam Hill to launch a summer initiative to raise funds for essential school supplies for thousands of children in foster care.
The project, called "Camp Christmas in July," will launch on June 15.
"Kids who are at risk, homeless, or in foster care, so many of them say school is their safe place," Lilley recently told the Hallmark Channel in an interview. "So many of them don't graduate high school, so it's really important to set them up for success."
In a recent post on Instagram, Lilley shared that she and her team at her organization "Christmas is Not Cancelled" hope to collect more than 2,000 backpacks full of school supplies for children in foster care.
"We have way too much fun at @christmasisnotcancelled raising money for children in need with our powerhouse community of world changers," Lilley wrote on Instagram. "And this summer, we're back again to raise 2022 backpacks full of school supplies for children in foster care," she continued. "Camp Christmas in July (featuring hilarious game nights and virtual get togethers with your favorite celebrities) registration opens June 15," Lilley concluded.
In a subsequent post on the Christmas Is Not Cancelled page, the organization shared a video featuring some of the many young people who helped fill backpacks last year.
"Here are some of the friendly faces of those who helped @christmasisnotcancelled put together over 2020 backpacks filled with school supplies for children in foster care," the organization wrote. "We're so grateful for this beautiful community!"
As reported by CBN News, Lilley and her husband Jason Wayne are foster parents and have three adopted children, Kayden, 5; Jeffrey, 3; and Julie, who is almost 3. They also recently welcomed their first biological child, Jacqueline "Jackie" Grace, on May 12.
In an interview with People Magazine, the 38-year-old actress explained that the name Jackie means "God will protect her," and Grace means "God will empower her."
"This was a surprise pregnancy during new COVID variants and ramp-ups," Lilley noted. "I hadn't taken any prenatal vitamins, I was under a lot of stress, and with my history of miscarriages, I had to trust that God would indeed protect and empower her through the pregnancy, and that was absolutely true for the insane delivery!"
She also shared that her other children were looking forward to meeting their new baby sister.
"Kayden and Jeffrey very much understand," Lilley said. "It's also been super helpful to kind of start talking to Kayden a bit about adoption, which has been great. Because he says, 'So when I was in your belly,' and I'm like, 'Okay, let me talk to you about that.' So it's been a really wonderful introduction to explain adoption to him. That's been awesome, and he's really excited."
Lilley has starred in numerous films and TV shows, including "The Book of Esther," "Revelation Road," "Off the Menu," "Snowkissed," "Where Your Heart Belongs," and "Royally Wrapped for Christmas."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Paul Archuleta/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.