Toy and Clothing Drive to Help Foster Kids

“When a foster child first gets placed into a home, they are typically feeling heartbroken, nervous and overwhelmed,” said Lauren Krupla, founder of Fairfield Foster Closet. “They are stepping into a home that is not their own and they miss their family. When they arrive, they likely only have the clothes on their back and maybe a few sentimental items.”

To bring some comfort to these children who have gone through so much, the Fairfield Foster Closet will hold a collection drive on February 20 from 9 am to 11 am at the Tree Church located at 721 North Memorial Drive in Lancaster.

“When a foster child first gets placed into a home, they are typically feeling heartbroken, nervous and overwhelmed,” said Lauren Krupla, founder of Fairfield Foster Closet. “They are stepping into a home that is not their own and they miss their family. When they arrive, they likely only have the clothes on their back and maybe a few sentimental items.”

To bring some comfort to these children who have gone through so much, the Fairfield Foster Closet will hold a collection drive on February 20 from 9 am to 11 am at the Tree Church located at 721 North Memorial Drive in Lancaster.

Along with donated clothing and shoes, Fairfield Foster Closet provides children with a duffle bag, new underwear, socks and toiletry items. The organization also collects clean toys in good condition.

“All of our donations are helpful; however, we do sort through them to ensure that we are only providing ‘like new’ items to these children,” Krupla said. “As a teacher, I know first-hand that all these children want to do is fit in. Often times, they are not returning to their own schools and have to not only live in a new home, but sometimes start at a new school. We want to provide them with items that will give them confidence.”

Krupla and her husband Sean founded the Fairfield Foster Closet in November 2020.

“When we got our first foster care placement, we went from having no children to caring for a three-month-old in a very short time frame,” Krupla said. “We were prepared with a couple items on hand, but when you are a foster parent you don’t know if your next placement is going to be a newborn or a teenager. Therefore, we quickly realized we needed some other essential items. That is when we reached out to our foster closet in South Carolina and they gave us exactly what we needed. Fast forward three years, three foster placements and two adoptions, we moved back home to Ohio, and I knew I needed to bring this amazing resource to Fairfield County.”

Often times foster parents receive little notice when a child needs a home.

“Children can be dropped off during the day or even in the middle of the night,” Krupla said. “They are typically dropped off by their caseworker, and they provide foster parents with as much information as they know (which can be very little). Our goal is to support foster families so that they can focus on loving and caring for that child, and we can provide the immediate needs.”

Fairfield Foster Closet has created a wish list on Amazon.

“We always need clothing, but the items on our Amazon wish list are an ongoing need,” Krupla said.

Although not associated with Fairfield County Job and Family Services – Protective Services (FCPS), the agency appreciates the help that Fairfield Foster Closet provides to families.

“I think any entity looking to support foster parents and children in foster care are nothing short of heroes,” said Heather O’Keefe, deputy director of FCPS. “We are grateful for their support and look forward to partnering with them to provide assistance when appropriate.”

Protective Services is a public child welfare agency that licenses some but not all foster families within Fairfield County.  Foster parents may be licensed by a private agency or another county altogether. 

“County Protective Services has always provided support to any foster child in our custody,” O’Keefe said. “We assist with items such as shoes, clothing, diapers, cribs, beds, formula, etc.  Items are provided by allowing foster families to make purchases paid for by the agency or other means of donation.”

Fairfield Foster Closet benefits the community in several ways.

“It provides a resource for foster families for items they may need above and beyond what a licensing agency may provide,” O’Keefe said.  “It also provides an opportunity for Fairfield County residents to assist foster children if they are unable to directly foster themselves.  This includes the ability to make donations directly to a group and know where those donations are going to help within the community.” 

The group also enables foster families to network with one another. 

“Regardless of who licenses them, they share a common and a unique role,” O’Keefe said. “The group provides the ability for them to know who they are and connect.  It’s another means of support.”

The program is a valuable resource for foster families to share items such as toys, highchairs, etc. outside what agencies provide.

FCPS is always looking for quality individuals to become licensed foster parents.  Interested families should contact the agency at 740-652-7887 and ask to speak with someone about becoming a foster parent.  

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock, Drawing courtesy of Juliet Scofield, Grade 4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s