Foster Friends of Washington County drive a great success

Jessica Fritch, Ashley DeWitt & Lindsay Hull

Jessica Fritch, Ashley DeWitt & Lindsay Hull

Thanks to Lindsay Hull for the following update!

The idea for Foster Friends of Washington County and the care pack drive took spark just before Thanksgiving 2014. Ashley DeWitt and I read a blog about a group collecting back packs for foster children in Allegheny County and wanted to participate in the drive but wished the packs could be given to children in our own neighborhoods. Realizing maybe we could if we just asked, we contacted Washington County CYS and got the green light to donate our packs and any other we could collect as well. With the go ahead from CYS, Ashley and I created a Facebook group and started posting fliers and inviting everyone we knew to join the cause. In the four week period from the concept’s inception until the official care pack “donation week” support wildly exceeded our expectations, collecting more than 200 care packs for children in foster care!

Often children are removed from their living situation with nothing but the clothes on their back and a trash bag of miscellaneous items. The purpose of the care pack is to give children who are in a situation completely out of their control something that can bring them comfort and that they truly can call their own. Putting together a pack is no easy task; they take time, money, and thought. Each pack is age and gender specific so it can be “grab and go” for the caseworker. Packs were collected for children ages newborn to eighteen years and are a back pack or duffel bag containing at minimum pajamas, a blanket, toothbrush and toothpaste, body wash, a book and a toy. Many packs donated contained heart-felt extras such as journals.

Word of mouth regarding our drive spread quickly and packs, monetary and gift card donations began to come in right away. Foster Friends would like to recognize the following people or businesses who donated $100 or more:¬† Hollowood Heating Inc. (California, PA), CentiMark Corporation (Canonsburg), California Army Navy Surplus (California), and Douglas Education Center’s Jeffrey D. Imbrescia (Monessen). All monetary donations were used to finish any incomplete packs and to create additional packs.

Foster Friends also had several individuals and businesses that went the extra mile and donated fifteen or more care packs. These came from Mandy Lee and Lee Supply (Charleroi, PA), Alyson Hollowood and MOPS of Calvary Baptist (Washington), Jessica Fritch and the Charleroi High School faculty and students, and the members of the Mon Valley YMCA. We would also like to thank Janae Layhue and Hugs for the Holidays who generously donated forty-five Build-A-Bears to be included in care packs.

Finally, Foster Friends of Washington County would like to thank the businesses who served as our donation locations: City Motors, LifePoint Church Workshop, Moschetta’s Performing Arts Center in Waynesburg and Fredericktown, Hollowood Heating Inc., and the Mon Valley YMCA.

Ashley and I are humbled by the generosity shown by all who participated in our drive in any way. We truly can’t believe the response we received in such a short period of time. We plan to make the care pack drive an annual event and are open to organizing additional drives throughout the year to meet other needs of children in foster care. Foster Friends of Washington County can be contacted¬† at fosterfriendswashco@yahoo.com.

Donations can be made at: www.gofundme.com/fosterfriends.

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