In 2015 there were 670,000 children in foster care in the United States. Unfortunately this number is growing each year. We aren't, as a nation, making headway in helping parents to be better parents. What is the church doing about it? In our church we have some who are foster parents and some who have been in the past. We are encouraging more to get involved.
But what can we do as the church to help meet immediate needs in foster care? Our church is launching a new outreach to the community, Project Care4Kids.
Project Care4Kids has four areas of focus:
- Encouraging people to be foster parents
- Meeting temporary needs of foster children and their foster parents
- Supporting our local crisis pregnancy center
- Supporting and promoting adoption
One element of this new outreach/ministry is really going to make in impact in our community. We formed a team of volunteers from our church (over 30 committed to this on Sunday) who will put together backpacks for foster kids. These backpacks will be packed according to different age ranges. In the pack will be age appropriate toys, stuffed animal, school supplies, toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, etc. Local foster parents will be able to call a "hotline" number, set it up on google voice, when they get the call that they will be receiving a child in their home. So when they get the call that at 7pm social service will be bringing them an 8 year old foster child they can then turn and call us and someone from our team will drop the back pack to their house. We will also drop a duffle bag because many of these kids show up with all their belongings in a trash bag. A trash bag! What message does this send to the child? We will also let the foster parent know we are available to help with other needs if they let us know, clothes, shoes, coats, etc.
We will be having in March a Project Care4Kids launch party. We will gather together on a Saturday morning and divide up supplies, organize and pack backpacks and duffle bags. We will be also making a "no sew" fleece blanket for each child and teen. It's going to be a fun time of serving together, building relationships and meeting needs.
We are getting going on this new outreach. We aren't sure how it will all work out, we don't have all the answers but we are willing to dive in and do something, to put feet to our prayers.
If you would like to know more about this outreach project please feel free to contact me.