Bringing the Magic of Christmas to Older Foster Children

By Patty Kim - December 18, 2023

Every year, Lynn Moscinski looks forward to adopting teenagers over the holidays. She doesn’t have kids of her own, so she goes out of her way to help spread cheer. For over 20 years and counting, she has stepped up to make Christmas day brighter for foster children in Hillsborough County through the Foster Angel Tree program.

“It’s one of my most favorite events of the year,” said Moscinski, M.D., vice chair of Hematopathology at Moffitt Cancer Center.

The Foster Angels of Hillsborough County is focused on fulfilling the many wishes of local foster children during the holidays. The organization works diligently with more than 100 sponsors to ensure each child has age appropriate gifts for Christmas. With generous support from the community, more than 1,200 children in foster homes benefit.

Moffitt has been a sponsor for over 20 years with Foster Angel Trees displayed at all campuses. Team members pick an angel from the tree, go on a Santa shopping spree and drop off wrapped and tagged gifts. The Foster Angels of Hillsborough County makes sure every gift makes it to the right angel.

Dr. Lynn Moscinski has participated in the Foster Angel Tree program for more than 20 years, fulfilling the Christmas wishes of older teenagers.
Dr. Lynn Moscinski has participated in the Foster Angel Tree program for more than 20 years, fulfilling the Christmas wishes of older teenagers.

The older teen angels — the ones more likely to be passed over for toddlers and younger children — are the ones who pull on Moscinski’s heartstrings the most.

Moscinski comes from a small family. She has one brother. They grew up in Milwaukee with blue collar parents in the low to middle class who wanted to make something better for themselves. Both sets of grandparents were immigrants raised as farmers in Poland, and her parents were the first in the family to graduate from high school.

Christmas in the Moscinski household meant clothes sewn by Mom, one toy, one pair of new shoes and “something useful.” She always had a safe and comfortable home, but when she turned 16, Moscinski was expected to get a job to pay for any nonessential items and save up for tuition to go to college. She didn’t have any of the trendy items or fun social interactions that others in her student class did, and kids being kids, she was made fun of and often felt left out.

But she also remembers that when her parents could not escort on school field trips, there was always someone who volunteered as a guardian to fill in.

“It’s so important to have opportunities,” said Moscinski, who believes that you should never forget where you started your journey or where it may lead you.

Today, Moscinski owns her own home, has traveled throughout the world and has a wonderful career as a pathologist at Moffitt. She feels honored to have been among the first female executive leaders at the cancer center. “I want to provide hope and inspiration to other young people on that path,” she said. That’s why she wants to help older kids, the ones who are the most vulnerable.

This year, she carefully chose four angels: two teenage boys and two teen girls. The angels she picks always get everything on their wish list.

Apple watch. Apple Watch with cellular. Canvas and art supplies. IPad, but it must be pink. Designer handbag. Xbox Series X with gamer headphones. Pullup bar. Laptop. Hoverboard.

It means so much to Moscinski to be Santa’s little helper for such special children. She hopes to keep the magic of Christmas alive, helping one teenager in foster care at a time.

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