Foster kids already have a tough time adjusting to their changing environments, and many times they don't have much more than the clothes on their back. So one foster family in Lincoln is changing that with the Foster Care Closet.
The organization gives gently used and new clothing to kids in foster homes and shelters, and has grown to help families across Nebraska. Now, local Girl Scout Troop 113 is trying to help them gain awareness, increase donations, and raise $9,000 - enough to run the facility for an entire six months.
"The Foster Care Closet is a non-profit organization that takes in donations of clothing, shoes, blankets, new socks and underwear, diapers, wipes, baby items, anything that will help with the placement of a child that's a ward of the state," said founder Leigh Esau.
Esau started the Foster Care Closet with her husband in their basement after taking in three little girls with nothing but the clothes on their back.
"It's fun to see the kids come in and pick out their clothes, and see all the donations that people brought in," said one of the fourth grade scouts.
The troop is trying to raise awareness for the organization so even more foster kids can fill their closets and grow their confidence.
"Well I think it's pretty amazing that this woman started this business from the ground up, and it seems like the world is such a bad place, with the economy and everything and our pollution - this shows people care," said another girl scout.
The troop is trying to earn their Bronze Award, the highest honor in Junior Girl Scouts, but they have to meet the qualifications, "You have to be really responsible and caring, so that's why we chose this place because nobody really knows about it. And it's a good place," one girl said.
They've donated their time at the facility, and now they want to donate money. $9,000 is their goal, to pay for six months of operations at the closet.
"When their leader told me what their goal is, I did cry. I can't imagine, being an 8, 9, 10 year old girl and that number just seems huge! As adults you think about what $9,000 is, $9,000 for some people is a new car, or it's a computer and the things that go along with that. So it's not a small dollar amount and for them to want to strive for that goal is just huge," Esau said.
And although the scouts are just at the $700 mark, they've already learned the significance of helping others.
"It actually feels pretty good so we can help the kids that are in need," one scout said.
If you'd like to help the girl scouts reach their goal of raising $9,000, you can donate money by check made out to the Foster Care Closet, and send it to their troop leader Jennifer Davidson at 7301 Glenview Drive, Lincoln, NE 68505.
If you'd like to donate gently used clothing or baby supplies to the Foster Care Closet, or set up an appointment to get clothing for your foster kids, call Leigh Esau at 402-617-0667. The organization is located at 25th & Randolph Streets in Lincoln.
The Foster Care Closet is also hosting the Prom Closet this year. You can get more information about that by clicking on the attached document.