When organizations and individuals work together to meet the needs of Arizona’s most vulnerable children, everyone wins! The wonderful story below, shared with We Are Their Future by Arizona Helping Hands is a powerful example of how critical collaboration is to meet the needs of the over 17,000 children in Arizona’s state foster care system. It is also a touching example of what it means to truly be watching out for Arizona’s vulnerable children, and how they can be protected by being a good neighbor, stepping in when there is a need to do so. Remember, everyone can do SOMETHING, and it will take ALL of us to get the job done. We cannot sit idly by and assume government will parent these children, it takes people who will open their hearts and do what they can to make a difference.
Joining together to make a difference for children & families!
Arizona Helping Hands (“AHH”) is the State’s largest provider of basic essential needs for children in foster care. Through April 30th the Organization has provided 800+ beds and cribs (already this year!) to give children a Safe Place to Sleep, along with clothing, diapers, personal care items and even birthday packages to celebrate that so important but too often overlooked day for kids in foster care!
In 2016, the CarePortal began working in Maricopa County to connect Churches to local children and families in crisis. Quite the marriage was formed when these two groups began working together.
The CarePortal brings the needs of hurting children and families to the attention of local churches. DCS caseworkers uncover the needs and seek out church members to respond in real time to assist families. Many times the needs include something as basic as beds and cribs – and naturally, AHH is the obvious source to fill those needs, allowing church members to focus on other important pieces of support.
A recent case points out the beauty of this connection. Sherie Siegel took a phone call from a foster mom (“J”) looking for assistance with not a couple or a few, but SIX BEDS for the family she just opened her home to support and love. J told Sherie that she stopped at a downtown 7-11 and noticed a bunch of children hanging around. The 2 year old was running around with a soiled diaper, all the kids were dirty. J asked one of the kids where mom and dad were and the child pointed to the side of the building. Mom and Dad were obviously more consumed with deriving their own pleasure than caring for these kids. Eventually J took these kids home with her to clean them up, give them a meal and see where things would go.
Where did things go? – J is now fostering these six kids, in addition to the 7 that she has adopted! She was reaching out to AHH in hopes of giving these kids the basic comfort of a bed or a crib, and as with all our clients, Sherie threw open the door to say YES we will help. J’s issue was with space to provide sleeping arrangements for six new kids. The question was, “Does AHH supply bunkbeds?” Our answer, “NO, but let us explore whether our friends at the CarePortal can help out in this very special circumstance.”
Calls and emails were passed around, this amazing story shared across electronic channels, and lo and behold a CarePortal member stood up to say “I want to help!” In no time, an order was placed, bunkbeds were delivered and J and her husband showed up at AHH to pick up mattresses for the bunkbeds plus a crib, all the bedding, some care items, diapers and more.
What a perfect circle of love that closed around this family who so willingly opened themselves to kids in need with no visible means of support, just knowing it was what they must do. Arizona Helping Hands and the CarePortal continue to make a meaningful impact on the lives of kids in and out of foster care, showing that it truly does take a village to #StandUp and #Makeadifference for boys and girls in our community.
In this, National Foster Care Awareness month, it’s important to know that EVERYONE can do something to support children in foster care. You can donate children’s gently used clothing at any area Mattress Firm location, you can hold a collection drive to gather new toys, games and books or even back to school supplies. Your church can explore becoming involved in the CarePortal. It truly does take a village, and by working together our entire community can encircle families like J’s with the love and support they, and especially those precious children, so desperately deserve.
Learn about the CarePortal at www.careportal.org
Learn about Arizona Helping Hands and how you can help at www.azhelpinghands.org
Contact the writer at [email protected] and connect on FACEBOOK at www.facebook.com/azhelpinghands/