Foster hope even if Covid bites

Despite New Zealand’s blockade to contain the Covid-19 bite, newly raised children may have a reason to smile.

When they leave the house, they can often relieve their pain by receiving clothes topped with personal touches such as teddies and patchwork quilts and basic hygiene backpacks without taking anything. I can do it.

Some children have never had or shared a toothbrush. A teenage girl who had never had jeans was weeping when she received the pair.

Foster Hope is a national, fully volunteer-operated charity that organizes these personalized backpacks for children entering emergency or long-term foster care.

“For a kid who has nothing, having a new PJ and his own blanket is a big deal,” says Otago / Southland Coordinator Juanita Willems.

It’s about letting these kids know that someone cares … every single pack is made with love. “

Last year’s national fall blockade meant that quite a few backpacks were given, and 1800 were distributed in her area alone during the fiscal year.

She says a family member who couldn’t deal with was seeking help from the Ministry of Children, Orangata Maliki (OT).

This year, Foster Hope Otago / Southland received many requests for packs, just before the country was suddenly shut down late August 17.

One of the reasons is that Trust has a new partner agency in Milton, which includes more children. 150 young people from the Milton region have been added to the Christmas gift list.

After the blockade began, Juanita urgently demanded baby products, pajamas and boys’ underwear.

“In order for us to suddenly need more diapers, you only need six babies from the south of Oamaru.”

Not only will demand increase, but the blockade means she can’t go out and buy supplies. But people can shop online.

Prompt response: Within 24 hours, over $ 1,000 was donated and diapers and baby powder arrived at her home, where everything was organized.

Teenage boys’ underwear is still needed.

“People don’t want to buy underwear for teenage boys!”

The other day, a social worker rang and needed a boy’s pack. Juanita couldn’t go out to buy clothes, so her sons attacked and helped their wardrobe.

Make good memories

Some Kiwi children are raised when their parents suddenly die without a succession plan, while others are raised because they are in jail, addicted, or abusive. Some people have.

Children may suffer from ongoing harmful effects, she says.

“Some were really damaged, with deprivation, hunger and lack of medical care.”

Juanita was born into a physically abused family and has a first-hand experience of why some are raised.

“I’m 43 years old, but I’m still influenced by it every day,” she says.

She gradually became blind and is now completely blind because of the injuries she received before becoming a foster child.

“The message is that you may be a foster child, you may take care of it, but that doesn’t end there. The impact of people suffering before foster care can change your life. , May be permanent. “

Juanita grew up and was adopted at the age of seven, emphasizing that this care was affectionate and positive. However, the memory of the horrific life before that remains.

“Now, I feel that if I can help my children take care of them, it will help them to turn those memories into good ones.”

Thanks to New Zealanders’ generosity and thousands of hours of volunteering, Foster Hope offers backpacks through OT social workers, foster care organizations and homes.

Recipients vary in age from premature to 19 years.

Families often have more than one child in need of foster care. One grandma was preparing to take care of her five grandchildren, and she had a bed but no bedding, so Juanita turned to Facebook for help.

“Within an hour, a whole new thing started arriving.” One kind donor ordered all the bed sheet sets and another bought a duvet inner.

According to Juanita, most of the contents of the pack are donated by the general public who provide money and physical items.

Avid supporters Mosgiel Inner Wheels and Carol Gold handcraft many toilet bags from recycled materials.Photo: Foster Hope

In Otago and Southland, BestStart collects merchandise on a regular basis, with the University of Otago and the University of Otago’s Cumberland College making long-term contributions.

“Many small knitting groups, lots of inner wheels, Lions, Rotary-they seem to be our regular backers and the general public.”

Foster Hope is run by volunteers and the coordinating role of the community includes about 150 hours a month.

The number of volunteers varies and increases during Christmas when the service group wraps gifts.

But in general, Juanita says about the number of volunteers: It’s a fun time, it’s my family and me! “

During the past fiscal year in Otago / Southland, charity provided about 800 Christmas gifts and 40 starter packs to foster teenagers.

The children who took care of her nine years before she started volunteering are now out on their own. Probably strengthened with hope.

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For more information:

About Foster Hope Nationwide And Otago / Southland

2018 Foster Hope Talk

about Foster parents

Foster hope even if Covid bites

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