Over the course of this year, COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. Virtually no corner of the world will be left untouched by this experience. Yet, its impact varies dramatically, even in our own country. The coronavirus has highlighted many inequalities across the U.S., as disenfranchised communities struggle to deal with the consequences of the virus both physically and economically. Among these hard hit groups are our children currently in the foster care system.
The coronavirus has drastically slowed down the process of transitioning children out of foster care and into forever families. A shutdown of government offices and facilities along with the modification of certain aspects of the foster/adoption process such as homestudies, family visits, and traveling across state has caused huge delays and left many children waiting in limbo. Although not everyone is in a position to foster or adopt at this time, there are still a number of ways to provide support for children facing further hardship due to the pandemic.
My NeighbOR is a collaboration between Every Child Oregon and the DHS. It aims to provide community goods and services to foster families and youth in foster care. This team has created an emergency response system which reaches out into the community for requests, donations, and delivery drivers.
On their website, you will find ways to provide supplies, purchase a gift card, or give funds to help meet the needs of foster families across the state. My NeighbOR is also looking for community members who are willing to follow their safety precautions and assist in delivering these items to waiting families. By the end of March, more than 440 donors had stepped up to help. My NeighbOR was able to set up 44 drop-off/pick-up sites but more is still to be done. If you or someone you know is interested and able to help support My NeighbOR, click here to learn more.
One Simple Wish
One Simple Wish provides an easy and personal way to send support to children in the foster care system nationwide. Their website features hundreds of “wishes” submitted on behalf of foster children that you can grant with just the click of a button. The site provides the name of the wisher, what they would like, why, and how much it will cost. Options vary from a remote control car to a brand new bike. They can be as low as a 5 dollar gift to as much as you’re able to give.
To help, you can look through these wishes to find something that will bring joy to a deserving child during this challenging moment in their life. You can also go straight to their page titled COVID-19 Response to donate to their coronavirus fund. This fund provides things like laptops and other educational tools for remote learning, groceries, gas cards, medical supplies not covered by insurance, and so much more.
Since 2013, With Love has been working in Portland and the surrounding area to provide foster children age 0-6 with resources that will help meet their needs. They aim to create a nurturing hopeful environment during what is an incredibly tumultuous time in these children's lives. Items such as diapers, car seats, clothes, and toys are delivered to over 120 foster families each month and they are looking to provide even more support during the current pandemic.
With Love is encouraging community members to help in a handful of ways. In order to make every dollar count, they buy many of their items in bulk and always appreciate any amount of financial contribution. You can also find their Amazon registry and choose which items you would like to send to waiting foster families. Lastly, With Love accepts gift cards, which can be a huge help to a number of families. Even if you find yourself unable to donate presently, there is a simple way to provide support for With Love and all the lives they touch: spread the word! Post on Facebook, tell a friend, write a tweet. Getting the word out there can be just as important as any donation.