SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — East River Foster Parent Network helps kids transition into a new, unfamiliar home.
East River Foster Parent Network strives to help kids feel at home in a foster setting.
“A lot of times when they come into care they come with little to nothing and so everything that was theirs is now gone,” Clothing Closet President Holley Christensen said.
“Each kid that comes into care we like to provide them with a welcome bag that kind of just gives them the necessities for life in a new house,” Volunteer & Secretary Kristen Rhoades said.
The non-profit hands out about 450 welcome bags each year. They include everything from socks and shoes to a backpack and book, and wouldn’t be possible without your support.
“So our goal is to collect three to six months worth of items and each month we’re going to focus on a different set of items that go in the welcome bags,” Christensen said.
“Our focus for January is hygiene items which is the toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoos, body washes and things like that kids need just for moving to a new home,” Rhoades said.
An average welcome bag costs $75 to assemble and saves new foster parents both time and money.
“We try to alleviate some of that running around when the kid first comes into care. It’s a one-stop, you get all the hygiene items and the clothes they need,” Christensen said.
“One, it’s something to have of their own and also just everyone needs to be clean and needs to care of necessities and they’ve got a lot going on in their lives that the least of their concerns should be are my teeth clean when I go to school or is my hair greasy,” Rhoades said.
As the donations pile up, Rhoades hopes more people step up and become foster parents.
“These kids just need a place to feel safe and secure for however long it’s needed and the more families that do it helps lessen the burden for everyone,” Rhoades said.