04 September 2013

foster care supply closet update

Ok, I have been volunteering at the front desk in our foster care office for a few Tuesdays now. I would be lying if I said its easy or that I am awesome at it. But it has been good.

As you know, this opportunity came from my repeated "showing up" to help organize the supply closet there.  Naturally, this has exposed me to more of the story in that office.  I see how the closet is used, and I see more clearly how it lacks.  Also?  I feel more determined than ever to share the needs with others so there isn't this big blank space between foster parents and not foster parents.

If you don't know, you can't help.  Right? 

I still don't want to tell too many details of private stories during their most difficult chapters.  I've seen their faces, I've heard bits and pieces of their stories.  I've seen how the caseworkers are repeatedly pulled in an impossible number of directions within moments.  All the while staying on task with the most urgent cases.  There are just not enough people in that office to do everything that needs to be done.  This might be a budget issue, this might be a management issue, this might even be a political issue.  I don't know.  What I do know, though, is that these are children and they need to be loved, they need to know they are loved.  So wherever the issue stems from, it ends with children in need. 

And we can help.  There are so many ways we can help.
One quick story before I get on with the current needs and the help you can provide.

I've been keeping a tally-sheet of clothing items trying to keep track of clothing needs in each size range.  I have made notes in some cases for outfits that are "questionable" or "sorta an outfit."  My tally sheet is often a scrap of paper that gets shuffled around and smudged.  When I get around to typing up the needs, I don't add my notes.  Therefore those questionable outfits get overlooked.  But yesterday.  There was only one "outfit" in the size that was needed.  It was one I had cringed over before.  Too short shorts, with a cropped shirt of some sort.  My stomach was sick over it.  I have no idea how the child felt about the outfit, it was probably just nice to have clean clothes to put on.  But how I wish it had been something that was less "sorta an outfit." I also found out that the child had to wait to shower for a caseworker to return with a towel she went out to buy. 

Y'all.  I need your help.

Everything needs to be new.  If you are crafty and make things, that still counts as new.  I need to say this up front because I know it is a bit disappointing for the thrifty folks out there that have the gift for finding THE BEST previously-owned items.  I know.  But this is a standard that the office has in place to prevent a pile of junky stuff being brought in.  I have sorted through some items that eluded that standard which made me respect the standard even more. 

Immediate needs: 
  • towels (for children that need a bath/shower when they come in to care.)
  • boys' toddler size underwear through size small (we have none!)
  • blankets (children often have to sit a long time in the AC in those offices)
  • shelf-stable kid-friendly snacks (see above)
  • VOLUNTEERS TO WORK AT THE FRONT DESK!!*  {HUGE NEED}
Clothing needs:
  • The goal is three outfits for each size range for boys & girls through 4T; and two outfits for each size range for boys & girls in larger sizes.
  • They also need shoes.  All sizes.  The goal would be a pair of shoes in every size.  
  • Here is a list of what is currently needed to fulfill the clothing goals:
    • GIRLS
      • Newborn - fulfilled
      • 3-6 months - need 1 outfit
      • 6-9 months - fulfilled
      • 12 months - fulfilled
      • 18 months - fulfilled
      • 24 months - need 1 outfit
      • 2T - need 2 outfits
      • 3T - need 2 outfits
      • 4T - need 2 outfits
      • XS - need 1 outfit
      • S - need 1 outfit
      • M- need 2 outfits
      • L - need 2 outfits
      • XL - need 2 outfits
    • BOYS
      • Newborn - fulfilled
      • 3-6 months - fulfilled
      • 6-9 months - fulfilled
      • 12 months - fulfilled
      • 18 months -fulfilled
      • 24 months - fulfilled
      • 2T - need 1 outfit
      • 3T - need 2 outfits
      • 4T - need 2 outfits
      • XS - fulfilled
      • S - fulfilled
      • M- need 2 outfits
      • L - need 2 outfits
      • XL - need 2 outfits
QUESTIONS?  Ask away.  Please!
IDEAS?  Share them.  Please!
INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING YOUR TIME?  Let's talk*.  PLEASE!

If you want to donate something, would you mind saying a prayer over the item(s)?  A prayer for the child that will receive it.  If you can't donate right now (I so get it) would you mind saying a prayer for the caseworkers as they go about their days with too much work and not enough time?

I believe we have a great opportunity to make a huge difference in this little space.  Prayer is no small part of it, so please keep on praying.  It is a challenge every time I walk in there, but I never feel alone.  You all go with me.  When I tally up the clothes in the closet, it just makes me smile to see the ones that you all have given.  It's like you are in there with me. Its a special place.  And just on the other side of the door is so much heartbreak and hurt, but we, my friends, we carry the hope.  We get to share it.  You are doing this with me.  And I am so grateful.  Thank you for loving well. 

"Learn to do what is good.
Seek justice.
Correct the oppressor.
Defend the rights of the fatherless.
Plead the widow’s cause."  
Isaiah 1:17 HCSB

* volunteering at the front desk requires a background check.  for obvious reasons. 

6 comments:

  1. Your graphic are cool! I sent you a FB message. I'll be on the look out for clothes at the PX.

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  2. Well said my friend. I know we have had many of conversations about the "standards".... I have said it before and I will say it again. Jesus wants us to give our best! Not our seconds... our best. Plus, these babies(no matter what age they are) need to feel loved. I know it is hard for us to believe but this may be the only new outfit this child have ever gotten.
    You are right where God wants you and you are doing an awesome job! Thank you again, for sharing a little bit of you with us!
    On the lookout for things now.

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    1. Yes! You are so right, Barbie! They all need to feel the love. Thanks for being such a huge part of this!

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  3. Amanda, I wish I could sit down over a cup of coffee and tell you all the things I love about this post. Again, God is doing amazing work in and through you, and it is so beautiful to see. Thank you for giving us the ability to see the masterpiece as it is being created. Love you always.

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    1. OH Tracy! Me too. Me too! Someday, I believe we'll get to sit down and chat it up. You are so much a part of this work and your continual encouragement is crucial! So thank you! I am blessed!

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