Holiday sharing program helps families in need

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It is a program that both reunites families and helps them celebrate the holidays.

As they stand around the tree, Makaikla, Marlon, Marissa and Jeremiah are all smiles, excited about what Santa may bring.

But also because this will be their first Christmas they spend with their father, Marlon Ogletree.

"I wouldn't have got the kids back if, it wasn't for them," he said.

After their mother's parental rights were terminated, her four children were placed in foster care. Instead of walking away, Marlon turned to Community Social Services of Wayne County who helped him get his babies back.

The organization helped him find housing and through its services taught him to be a single dad.

"You have good people on your side that can help you out," he said. "(They can) help with problems you have. It's always a good thing."

"It is great seeing those kids and knowing we put them in a safe place with their father," said Lynda Dandridge of Community Social Services of Wayne County.

While the four children ages 3- 7 were in foster care, it was Community Social Services of Wayne County, who helped provide their Christmas - through its Holiday Sharing Program.

"They open the toy and they go, 'Is this mine to keep, I can have this?'" Dandridge said. "To see smile on face they have glimmer of hope that someone cares."

Tanya Griffith, who coordinates the holiday sharing program, says it provides Christmas for hundreds of children in foster care and for those who have been reunited with their families like the Ogletrees.

Although Ogletree works 60 hours a week as a shipping manager, he still has trouble making ends meet.

"I never thought I would be in this situation right now," he said. "But it happens it happens to good people

That's why Community Social Services of Wayne County is looking for people to adopt families over the holidays or donate what they can. They know the smallest gesture can mean the world to a child, especially on Christmas morning.

"I think it's great," Ogletree said. "It's always good to give especially when you really need it, (it is) hard for you to reach out for it."

If you want to help out a family this holiday season, all you have to do is go to the Community Social Services of Wayne County website. To sign up, there is also a phone number: (313) 883-2100 or go on the web at