PLAINS TWP. — Erik Trasciatti understands what Christmas is like in a foster care system, which is why he wants to give foster children a Christmas to remember.
Erik, 12, has volunteered to lead the annual Giving Tree that is setup at Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish in Pittston to collect toys for children in foster care.
Having been in foster care himself between the ages of 4 and 8, along with his younger sisters Angelina, 10, and Adrianna, 9, Erik said he understands how hard it is for foster children to wake up Christmas morning and not receive any presents.
“I know how hard it is during Christmas for kids from foster care to not get toys because Santa doesn’t know where they are,” he said. “I want to help them get toys.”
Erik and his sisters were brought into the Trasciatti home in 2010, but were officially adopted by their parents, Gino and Michelle, in 2012.
The Trasciatti family resides in Plains Township, but attends Mass at Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish as Michelle said she grew up in Wyoming and attended Mass there with her family. She wanted to remain a member there with the family she started.
Giving is not new to the Trasciattis. They have donated to Toys for Tots and the Giving Tree for years, and Erik even penned a letter to his school newspaper at Soloman Plains Elementary last year about giving back to children in need to try and raise awareness.
Erik wanted to take it a step further this year.
“He would like to specifically donate to Luzerne County,” she said. “They were adopted out of Luzerne County Children and Youth Services and he remembers Christmases where you would get one thing, or maybe nothing, because they moved around constantly. His first Christmas with us he was amazed and excited, so he wants to give back to the kids who were unfortunate to not be adopted yet.”
Michelle said the Giving Tree usually accepts both clothes and toys for the church to donate to various local charities, but this year donations are limited to toys only to help Erik’s cause.
The Trasciatti family has collected over 50 toys so far. The Giving Tree toy collection at Our Lady of the Eucharist runs from Sunday, Nov. 29 until Sunday, Dec. 13.
Erik’s sisters have been spreading the word around in school about donating, and his Boy Scout group, Plains Troop 100, is also helping out.
Gino and Michelle knew they were blessed with three terrific children when they adopted Erik and his sisters, but they never imagined their willingness to go above and beyond to help others in need.
“It makes me emotional,” said Michelle. “Erik is a good kid; all three of them are. We’re very lucky to have these three. They’re wonderful kids.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher