Foster families need our support and encouragement - especially during this pandemic. While some of our traditional methods of support may have to change for the time being, there are still many ways that the community can come alongside those who have said yes to children in foster care. Here are some ideas for ways you can help:
1. Feed a Foster Family
Foster families often have MANY mouths to feed - and the current restrictions on how many grocery items can be purchased has put some of those large families in a tough spot. Some families have experienced loss of income, the stress of virtual schooling, and many have welcomed new children into their homes during this time. There are many ways you can help feed a foster family. Drop off extra groceries when you go to the store. Order a pizza to be delivered to their doorstep. Connect with Bridge a Life to prepare a home cooked meal. Mail a Publix or Walmart giftcard to help cover expenses. Not only will you help fill their bellies, you'll bring a lot of smiles to their faces! If you are not already connected with any foster families, email CallieC@TheTwigCares.com to get connected!
2. Sew Masks for Caseworkers
Caseworkers are still making home visits, ensuring that children are safe. They are entering homes on a daily basis and many do not have protective gear for those visits. If you have the ability to sew masks, consider donating them to Safe Children Coalition or your local foster care agency for their caseworkers. They will be greatly appreciated by the foster care community!
3. Sponsor a TwigBox
Children who age out of foster care have always been a vulnerable and at risk population - and this current situation is no exception. You can sponsor a TwigBox that will be mailed directly to a young adult who has aged out of foster care in the past five years. Each box is filled with hygiene products and personal care items, as well as some fun surprises. You can help provide for the practical needs of a former foster youth through your sponsorship of a box.
4. Send a Note of Encouragement
Being a foster parent is often a very lonely calling, and that loneliness has only been exacerbated by the current situation. Take a moment to write a note of thanks and encouragement to a foster family. Your words will help them feel seen, appreciated, and encouraged to continue doing such important work!
5. Become a Foster Parent
Have you ever found yourself saying, "I've always thought about becoming a foster parent..."? Now is a great time to start the process. Many foster care licensing agencies are offering their required training online making it easy to get your hours completed. There is a current shortage of foster care families and the need for foster homes is expected to increase in the upcoming months. Reach out to One More Child, Safe Children Coalition, or your local foster care agency to find out more about the process of becoming a foster parent.
6. Support Organizations that Help Children in Foster Care
The pandemic is affecting all areas of our lives, and the economic situation has the potential to severely impact nonprofit organizations that serve children in foster care. Consider making an unrestricted donation to an organization that is dedicated to helping the foster care community. From noon to noon on April 28 and 29, donations of $25-$100 given through The Giving Challenge will be matched to maximize your gift. Consider giving to one (or more!) of these local organizations that serve the foster care community:
Bridge A Life
One More Child
Safe Children Coalition
All Star Children's Foundation
Guardian Angels of SW Florida
Children's Guardian Fund
Thank you for caring about children in foster care. While there are many needs during this pandemic, we hope you will consider investing in the lives of children in foster care. Not everyone can foster, but everyone can do something to help!