The buzz of the shopping aisles is in full swing as parents check off the back-to-school lists and kids soak up the last few moments of summertime. What you might miss in the hurried shopping and long check out lines are the children who are beginning this school year with a new family because they are in foster care.
For these kids, there may be more than your average nervous excitement about starting school. There can be so many emotions they feel - from not having their own book bags and school items from the past year, to walking into another change, plus the normal nerves of beginning a new school year with new teachers and new friends.
To help these children feel a little extra care and support, the community often tries to collect school supplies to give them and their foster parents. Hopefully joy from this gift can help ease some of the nervousness they might be feeling!
This summer has been one of tremendous generosity in giving these gifts. CFLM has had the joy of facilitating connections to help people meet the needs of these children and families who are engaged in foster care. One example is the school supply drive hosted by The Ministry Village in Walton County. Each year they collect school supplies from community members to give to children who are in foster care within the county. This year, they were hoping to also give brand-new, nice book bags to each child. With just a few phone calls from CFLM to people who have expressed their desire to care for these children, the need was met in one day! 50 book bags were purchased, donated, and given to children in foster care! Another example is the school supply drive organized by Compass Community to supply book bags and school supplies for children in foster care in Clarke and Oconee Counties. Families picked out new book bags, lunch boxes, and the entire school supply list for one child! This year we helped them serve 26 foster children through their back to school supply drive! As the foster parents picked up these supplies, we heard MANY comments on the book bag selections for their middle and high schoolers - that they are perfect for the trends they care about! And you just can't beat the look on some of the kid's faces when they see that their new book bags and lunch boxes have their favorite characters for them to show off on their first day of school! These kids will be walking through the school doors with CONFIDENCE because they have new, back to school items that were selected with such care to match what they love!
The pictures below show some of the book bags donated to the Walton County Drive and the back to school items collected for Clarke and Oconee County children.
This has been a way for people in the community to pitch in and play a role in caring for children in foster care. The individuals and families who donated to purchase these book bags may not feel they are able to become foster parents themselves. However, they have chosen to be generous in a way that still results in these kids experiencing tangible love and support. CFLM exists for moments like these! To equip churches and communities to demonstrate love in caring for orphans and vulnerable children.
There is a role for each person to have in the community-wide effort to care for children coming from hard places. This is just one example of how people have chosen to care! As we are watching these gifts come in and be given to these children, we get to rejoice in how the Lord is using individuals to display his love throughout the community.
To those who generously gave and donated what these children needed for the new school year, thank you! To those who want to find their role in caring, let us know your interests by contacting us through our website. We would love to help connect you to opportunities you can be passionate about!