LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Innovation Church in Lafayette is launching the city's first "Foster Closet." The donation service was created to meet the needs of foster families here locally.
It's specifically designed to help bridge the gaps that potential foster families can face. The closet creators, Pastors Billy and Mandy Holden say this started from their own personal experience with fostering.
The couple decided to become foster parents about three years ago. That's when they realized furnishing a bedroom, gathering clothes, and getting other child items is quite costly and overwhelming.
After the couple received support from people donating items to them, they decided to create an entire donation service to help other foster families. This closet allows foster parents to shop for items they need free of charge. They're allowed up to five outfits per child.
The Holden's also have another space storing bedding, toys, and other childcare items.
"We don't want them to have to worry about, 'oh no I can't take this kid because I don't have anything for them.' The goal is for them just to be able to come here," said Mandy. "It'll definitely help the parents realize that they're not alone, that there's somebody in their corner that's going to fight with them, that's going to walk this journey with them," added Billy.
Pastor Billy said supporting foster kids can go beyond opening your home to them.
"It can be, you're helping provide toothpaste and extra baby clothes, and you're going through garage sales where they're selling items for 10 cents apiece and you say, 'this would look cute but I don't have the kid,' well we have a drop off box where you can support foster care without having to directly engage into it."
May is National Foster Care Month. The Holdens hope this closet will help encourage families to consider fostering. They'll be hosting a Foster Family Appreciation Day at the end of the month. You can follow "The Foster Closet" on Facebook to find out what items need to be donated. The closet is located in the parking lot of 2502 Mondavi Blvd. Lafayette, IN 47909. It's open Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays noon to 2 p.m.
Foster families can come in during those operating hours. They must bring their foster license and placement letter.