The City College Kinship and Foster Care Program helped several fostering parents on Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Veronica Springs Church with its clothing exchange event.
Round tables of various clothing styles from infant to adult were scattered around the room. The program partnered with the church and various foster care agencies for this event to be strictly for the many foster parents in the community. Judy Osterhage is the program director at City College and talked about the importance and positive impact of the event.
“The good thing about is that the way it’s arranged, you could have a lot of people or a little people and everybody gets to shop and get the things they need for their kids.” Osterhage said.
“Often there’s foster parents with all these different aged kids and different sizes so this accommodates everybody.”
She explained that many new foster parents don’t start out having the many essentials to raising the children, so they have to stock up on everything they need. Many parents have kids of different age ranges and at different times, so the constant replenishing of necessities can take a financial toll. This event offers parents the opportunity to gather clothing for the various age groups that they may have.
There was a large amount of baby clothes compared the older teen clothes which Osterhage describes to be because of the rapid growth in babies.
“If they have the older teens they can bring them and help choose,” she said. “Rather than buying a bunch of clothes that the kids don’t like or trying to guess.
“This is a safe way that they can get stuff because it doesn’t cost anything.”
Among the group of parents was Lisa Christensen, a fostering grandmother of a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old.
“The reason that I come to this clothing exchange is that the sizes they grow out of, I bring here and recycle them in and I get bigger sizes that I can take back home again and fill their closet with,” Christensen said.
Within the exchange the swapping of the clothes makes the parents equally help each other out. Christensen told The Channels that she feels really good about being able to help someone else as she’s receiving. When asked if she gives more things then she leaves with she replied that she does and it’s a great feeling. She related it to be almost like the Circle of Life.
“I feel there that there is plenty for everybody and then it does get passed on from here to somebody else that might need something,” she said. “So it definitely is very well rounded.”
Though this clothing exchange helps the many foster care parents of the community, there are still clothes left behind. All of the leftover clothes are donated to various shelters and thrift stores.