Giving hope to Central Oregon foster families
Starla Kay and her partner became foster parents a year and a half ago through a relative placement.
"We kind of lucked out -- we got three good kids," Kay said.
But going from no kids to three girls can be hard on your wallet.
That's where The Hope Chest comes in.
"The Hope Chest says it all," Tina Hale with Action Through Advocacy said. "It gives hope to families by giving them the tangible articles that they need."
Run by Action Through Advocacy, The Hope Chest is now housed and managed by the seventh-grade class at Morning Star Christian School.
"It's just exciting for us to be able to give back to the community, and for us to be able to teach the kids to give back," Morning Star Administrator Joe Bales said Thursday.
The Hope Chest has clothes, school supplies and toys for babies, and kids up to 18 years old.
"We've been able to help a lot of kids, a lot of people, and it's really fun to see all the smiles on their faces, like when they get the toys or their new clothes," Morning Star seventh-grader Amber McDowell said.
Oregon Family Support Regional Coordinator Karrie Newman added, "There really aren't a lot of pluses to foster care, in my opinion, so I think that them being able to come, the kids being able to come and being empowered to pick out something for themselves might soften the blow just a little bit."
Kay knows this first-hand.
"These kids they really are appreciative of getting something that they can call their own, and something that's nice," she said. "They can be around their friends that have the same things."
Although Kay and her family have gotten new items from The Hope Chest, they plan to give back, once the kids grow out of the items. But in order to help more families like Kay's, The Hope Chest needs donations.
"My kids -- their smiles could light up your universe," Kay said. "Literally, if you could see that smile, you would pack all your stuff up, wash it up and bring it in here."
It's a smile that could be on more foster kids' faces, thanks to The Hope Chest.
If you would like to donate gently used clothes to The Hope Chest, you can drop them off at Morning Star Christian School anytime they are open.
Foster parents and kids can also visit the school during the schools business hours to pick up items from The Hope Chest.
Morning Star Christian School's address is 19741 Baker Rd, Bend, Oregon 97702. You can also call them at 541-382-5091 with any questions.
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