Companies, clubs, churches, individuals, events and children can all help ensure every foster child has the essential items and little extras they need to thrive. Items like properly fitting clothing, shoes, school supplies, bikes, electronics and a toy to call their own can boost self confidence and create hope for a child in need.
Through our partnership with Mattress Firm and Sleep Train, we hold six annual drives to collect essential items. While we focus on each drive during specific times of the year, all items can be donated at any time.
Donating is easy whether you have a large donation or a single item.
If your company or club would like to donate a large quantity of items or an in-kind product not listed below please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.
ESSENTIAL ITEM DRIVES
NEW PAJAMAS: January-February
Often times a new pair of pajamas is the first bit of comfort provided to a foster child entering care and allows thousands of foster children to have a cozy night’s sleep. Pajamas are needed in sizes infant to teen, boys and girls.
Comfort items are essential to children and especially children who have been through trauma. A cozy pair of pajamas can go a long way toward helping a child feel safe and secure.”
Foster, Care Partner, Cowlitz County CASA
NEW CLOTHING: May-June
New clothing, while essential, also helps a foster child boost their self-esteem and fit in with their peers. Many children arrive in care with just the clothing on their backs and possibly a small bag of belongings. Most have never owned new clothing, and they light up when they see that people care about them. While all clothing items infant to adult sizes are needed, the most requested items are jeans, graphic tees, hoodies, athletic wear, leggings, bright colored clothing and any item that will make a foster child or teen feel special.
Many foster children are overwhelmed with gratitude with the fact that people who don’t even know them have taken the time to help.
Foster Care Partner, PATH Idaho
SCHOOL SUPPLIES: July-August
School Supplies are essential to success in the classroom. Helping ensure foster children have what they need to succeed in school sets them up for future success, too. Having these school supplies allows foster children to enter the classroom with confidence knowing they won’t need to borrow items or negatively stand out from their peers.
Surprisingly, receiving new school supplies is one of the biggest events for children in our care. To receive new school supplies and backpacks is a very big deal because it makes them feel like they fit in with their classmates who all have new supplies.
Foster Care Partner, Youth Villages
NEW SHOES: September-October
New shoes allow foster children to run faster, jump higher and walk with confidence. Many foster children have never owned new shoes and enter care with shoes that are too small for their growing feet. New shoes are needed in all sizes from toddler to adult and tennis shoes are in high demand.
A new pair of shoes makes all the difference in the world to being comfortable throughout the school day. They need to focus on learning and not on the fact that their shoes don’t fit, have holes or are wet from a rainy day.
Foster Care Partner, Blue Skies for Kids
SECRET SANTA TOY DRIVE: November-December
The holidays can be an especially difficult time for a foster child away from family and friends. Something as simple as a gift just for them brings joy and comfort in knowing they are cared for. We are collecting toys, games and books for all ages. The most popular items are bikes/scooters, electronics, trucks/cars, barbies, dolls, crafts, hair accessories, action figures and any gift that will bring joy or comfort.
The holidays are the most difficult time for foster youth with the constant messaging about love and families. It is a constant reminder of the painful obstacles they face. Receiving a gift during the holiday season reminds foster youth that there are people in the world who do care about what happens to them.
Foster Care Partner, Alternative Family Services