Foster care youths to get Valentine's Day cards

January 15, 2024

Mansfield News Journal

Lou Whitmire 

A project to help foster youths in Richland County know they are loved is returning.

Richland County Children Services (RCCS) and the Mansfield United Lions Club are showing foster youths love with Valentine’s Day cards.

The Mansfield United Lions Club and RCCS will be collecting Valentine’s cards for children in foster care ages 0–6, 7-12 and 13-18.

Cards can be handmade or store brought, but no sealed valentines and cards may be signed. Cards will be accepted through Feb. 5.

“This is a wonderful collaboration with the Mansfield United Lions Club and the City of Mansfield Parks & Recreation Department. In Ohio, there are more than 16,000 youths in foster care, and unfortunately many of them do not have the chance to be part of Valentine exchanges. The Valentine’s Day Card Project gives the community an opportunity to show children in foster care that they are loved, appreciated and not alone,” said Nikki Harless, executive director of Richland County Children Services. 

“Last year, we collected more than 4,700 items, including Valentine’s Day cards, books, candy and gift bags. People from all over Richland County and out of state donated cards, including families, schools, churches, businesses, public officials, colleges, correctional institutions and more helping to make the community project a success. This year we want to collect more for youths in Richland County and throughout the state of Ohio,” said Brigitte Coles, spokeswoman for Richland County Children Services.

The community is invited to drop off or mail the unsealed Valentine’s Day cards to Richland County Children Services, 731 Scholl Road, Mansfield, Ohio, 44906 or the Mansfield Parks & Recreation Department, 100 Brinkerhoff Ave., Mansfield, Ohio, 44906, C/O Valentine’s Day Cards.

 “This is a fantastic partnership with the Mansfield United Lions Club, Richland County Children Services and the City of Mansfield Parks Department,” said Mansfield Mayor Jodie Perry. “I encourage all our residents to participate in this and make this an extra special Valentine’s Day for our foster youth.”

“Lions meet the needs of local communities and the world. There are 1.4 million members of the volunteer organization in over 200 countries. The Mansfield United Lions Club meets at 6 p.m. the second Monday of each month at the upper building at Burton Park off of Sunset Boulevard. Find us on Facebook, or email for more information on becoming a member or opportunities to partner on future projects.” said Margaret Lin, co-president, Mansfield United Lions Club.

“The Mansfield United Lions have prioritized supporting the foster children of Richland County for three years. We have pride that the valentine card project has significant outreach with joy as the outcome,” said Debra Weaver, co-president of the Mansfield United Lions.

RCCS encourages all individuals to invest in the lives of children and to provide them with unconditional love, support, guidance and every available resource to ensure their health and well-being. 

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, contact Richland County Children Services at 419-774-4100 or go to

For more information about the Valentine cards project, contact Coles at 419-774-4168 or


X (formerly Twitter): @LWhitmir

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