From Founder and Executive Director Amber Raney:
We spread the word of our intentions to anyone who would listen and looked for others in our community who wanted to serve foster families!
In 2019 our team of 4 families set out to make this dream a reality for our community. We were convinced that someone in Franklin County had space sitting idle that they would donate to our cause. It wasn’t long before Mrs. Carol of the First Presbyterian Church of Union contacted us about using their idle Sunday School rooms to bless kids in our community. We officially opened there in June of 2019.
Within 6 months we were overflowing with children’s clothing and other essential supplies! We expanded from one room to two and then bought rolling racks so we could utilize the hallway for additional space.
We realized there is a big need for furniture and car seats among foster families. These items are needed at placement and are expensive to purchase. Some who feel called to serve as foster parents might find these large items cost-prohibitive. So, again we spread the word that we were looking for additional free space in Franklin County. A local adoptive family contacted us about an unused portion of a building they rent for their business. They said they would love for us to use their space to serve kids in foster care. We opened the large item location there in September of 2020. This location stores beds, dressers, car seats and other large items for use by foster families.
The very next month we were told about the Family Resource Center opening in the old Clark Vitt Elementary school building in Union. We discussed renting space there and determined we could serve more kids and families by moving. Our experience at First Presbyterian Church taught us that the Franklin County community wants to support kids in foster care. We also learned that foster families need the support of the larger community. We stepped out in faith and moved the Foster Closet to our new home at the Family Resource Center in early 2021. Moving into this space allowed more accessibility to the Closet as the building is open during business hours!
Shortly after moving into the building, we grew again. This time we partnered with the Franklin County Juvenile Office to provide a room dedicated to serving the clothing needs of teens in foster care.
One of our big projects for 2022 is putting Foster Closet lockers in at Franklin County Children’s Division. We want to make sure our kiddos have the clothing they need when they come into care.
Over the last 3 years, we have become a direct link between our community and our community’s most vulnerable kiddos. Last year we served more than 254 foster children and families. Over the past two years, we have saved foster families more than $56,000 in clothing and essential supply costs.