This past weekend, foster families from all over King County gathered at Woodland Park for a Back to School event hosted by the Children’s Administration, Fostering Together, and our own Foster Support Faith Alliance.
This past July, our state Child Welfare department switched from being under the Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) to a new Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF). This move happened at the time when the state department normally hosts some sort of foster parent/caregiver appreciation event, leaving no budget for the event. So, our DCYF offices that we’ve been seeking to serve these past 2 years, turned to the Foster Support Faith Alliance for help.
This past Saturday, without any budget, families came and were able to participate in a resource fair, learning about free resources available to them; participate in kids’ activities- like park games, face painting, popcorn and a craft station; enjoy raffles and giveaways for the parents, and even have the chance to “shop” for free school supplies. Our churches, including Seattle First Free Methodist Church, Westside Presbyterian in West Seattle and New Life Church in Renton donated literally thousands of school supplies. Families could get all of their class-mandated supplies, as well as backpacks, lunch boxes, and water bottles- all thanks to the generosity of these church congregations who collected a TON of needed items!
Cross and Crown Church in Seattle also gave selflessly of their time and resources- hosting craft activities for the kids at the event on Saturday and providing all of the snacks.
The highlight of the morning for me personally, was helping some of the kids pick out their school supplies and seeing the delight in their faces when they found the perfect pink sparkly backpack or space-themed lunchbox. Joyce Thomas, a program specialist for all of Region 2 of the Children’s Administration emailed, “You (at the Foster Support Faith Alliance) have saved the day. I don’t believe we would have been able to pull off this back to school drive if it wasn’t for the churches. Thank you so much!”