WRITER | LISA BECKER CAMPBELL
PHOTO | FOSTER CLOSET OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN
Parents who are reluctant to part with their children’s treasured items as they outgrow them – things such as Halloween costumes, books, and character-themed items – will be delighted to learn about Foster Closet of Northern Michigan, which welcomes all sorts of new and gently used items to aid other youth.
The nonprofit provides personal items to foster children so that they have a few belongings to call their own. The goal is to help these children rebuild their self-esteem and having something of their own has proven to aid in achieving this goal.
Children are often placed in foster care with no personal items. In many cases, they come into care with only the clothes on their back. Foster Closet of Northern Michigan is one arm of a network of organizations that provides kids with stylish new or like-new clothes and personal items.
With these donations, the organization helps reduce the financial strain a new placement can place on a foster family by freeing up funds that would otherwise have been spent on clothing and personal items.
“We are so grateful to our very generous community, businesses, churches, and volunteers,” stated Lorilee McGee, branch manager. “The pandemic was challenging, but we’ve adapted and look forward to things settling down.”
“Nobody gets a paycheck. Every dime goes to the kids,” she continued, noting that Foster Closet of Northern Michigan is completely volunteer-run.
Particularly important needs include packs of underwear, hygiene products, new or gently used winter gear, clothing and shoes (from preemie to teenager), cribs, strollers, high-chairs, booster seats, and more. Those interested in donating any of these items can visit the website for location information.
The Foster Closet may be used by foster families as often as needed. They have branches located throughout the state – Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Berrien, Branch, Genesee, Isabella, Livingston, Monroe, Oakland, Roscommon, Tuscola, Wayne Western, and Wexford Missaukee counties.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, more than 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States, and there are more than 13,000 in Michigan.
(231) 884-1279 l FosterClosetofMichigan.org