One Step We Can Take
By Carolyn Wiebe
As a Children and Families team, we hope it is obvious that we are passionate about children.
A question we regularly ask ourselves is, how we can support children and their families both inside and outside of our church walls. Where are the needs? What are the gaps? Where is the vulnerability? And what can we offer?
An area that keeps coming up is the foster community, both the children in care and the foster families.
So how can we, as a church, as hands and feet of God, offer hope and care to this need? Obviously the scope of the need is enormous and the solution and ongoing care is far greater than I can address in a blog post. There is huge need here, hard questions and harder answers. But in the face of huge problems, there is always one step we can take. We can’t do everything or save everyone, but each of us can do something.
Earlier this year we met with a wonderful foster mother who is the home leader for the Caregiver Support Network and she has become a liaison between us and the local foster community. We were able to meet with her and brainstorm a practical, on the ground way to be of help.
We heard about Comfort Cases, an organization started by two foster dads in the States and we borrowed from their brilliance. Comfort Cases offers a tangible support to foster children by providing a backpack packed with overnight items for a child brought into care.
You see, typically a child’s transition into foster care is under extreme, negative circumstances. A family receiving intervention by the ministry is usually a family in incredible need and the children stand to lose the most. This is not a scenario where a parent carefully packs an overnight bag and makes sure to include a favourite stuffy or special blanket. The scenario usually involves law enforcement and resistance and many times children find themselves in a foster home with only the clothes on their backs. As a mother of four young children and an adoptive mom, this image breaks my heart. The trauma and loss is staggering.
We took this idea to our SBC girls and boys clubs, Shine and SPUDZ, and asked the children what they would want in a backpack for a sleepover. They had wonderful, practical, age appropriate ideas and from their brainstorm, we created a list. This list includes items to meet the immediate needs such as pyjamas, socks, toiletries, a nightlight and a special blanket. I loved seeing the hearts of our Shine and SPUDZ children come alive with this idea as they came each club night with bags of donations.
Shine is over for the year and SPUDZ is ending. But children in foster care are still here. In 2017 alone, approximately 50 new children came into care in the South Okanagan. This is an opportunity for the church family to step in. We want to continue to provide these backpacks as an ongoing support, not a one time “feel good” donation.
This is where you come in. We need donations, we need backpacks, and just as important, we need a team to oversee this initiative.
So would you join us? Would you donate a backpack, donate an afternoon for collecting and packing, or donate some time on a regular basis to be on the team to move this project forward? Wouldn’t it be amazing to provide for all the foster children in our town… or in the south Okanagan… or… our country.
Foster children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, what are we as a church body doing to stand in the gap for them?
If you are interested in making a donation, getting involved or would like more information, please take a moment to fill out this quick interest form. Thank you!