Saturday, September 8, 2012

Welcome Boxes for Foster Children - Week 36





 What I Did:
I went shopping and my girls assembled 2 Welcome Boxes for foster children. 

When social workers remove kids from their homes, they don’t get a lot of time to pack their belongings before they are taken to the Department of Human Services(DHS) Child Welfare Office. A child can wait in a sterile DHS office for hours, most times overhearing the social worker attempt to find a place to for the child to stay. Welcome Boxes contain necessities and other fun items that occupy children as they wait. When a home is found, the child gets to keep the box as a gift just for him/her.

For a girl

For a boy

First Impressions:
What happened to this week? Seriously. 

One minute, I’m waking up on a lazy Labor Day Monday, drinking coffee, enjoying the last of a restful summer. 

The next minute, I’m waking up on Saturday with a headache, the kids already deep in homework and rushing to get to audition callbacks for their fall theater production while Edd and I debate about who is taking what girl where. Jeez! 

I would like the last week of summer back, please.

Since I barely remember what even happened this week, I was so thankful to read this blog post from Frugal Living NW. The post requested that readers fill Welcome Boxes for foster children and that they be dropped off at selected sites by September 6.

I love it when volunteer opportunities drop in my lap. Or I should say, “lap-top”.

The Job:
Thankfully, the post from Frugal Living had easy, detailed instructions, like this:




Since I had multiple errands to run anyway this week, shopping for a few more things was no problem. It was actually kind of fun.

I decided to fill one box for a girl aged 5-11 and one for a girl aged 12+. This way, I could just pick out what I knew my own daughters would like.



How To Help:
The drop off sites listed on the blog were only valid for a limited time. I got in just under the wire. Solid Rock Church in Beaverton is closest to me, so I took my stash there before picking up my eldest from school on Thursday. (I've since learned that Solid Rock will be a permanent drop off site.)

The Solid Rock offices,
located in the building across from the worship space.

If you’d like to make Welcome Boxes yourself, or with your family, or with your church group, or with your classroom, or with that new neighbor who just moved in next door, follow the assembly directions above. Labels for boxes are displayed below.


Once boxes are filled, contact Washington County coordinator, Emily Baylis (emilykbaylis [at] gmail [dot] com). Emily can let you know the permanent drop off sites in the Portland Metro area.

Today I had an opportunity to meet with Emily and she let me know about more needs in the foster care system. The DHS offices the children wait in also serve as meeting places for parents and their children. These spaces are often sterile and uninviting. Emily gave me a list of needs to make these places more welcoming. Do any of these volunteer jobs speak to your heart?
  • Organizing donated clothing 
  • Cleaning the toys that are in the DHS office
  • Painting, decorating, and sprucing up the offices making a more welcoming atmosphere
  • Hosting coffee/snack times for the social workers. These men and women need to feel valued, too!

If you or a group of you are interested in becoming more involved, Emily would love to hear from you.

Please take some time to read this follow up post on Frugal Living’s site and check out how Welcome Boxes have already made a huge positive impact in the lives of Portland area foster children.

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