I am so excited to kick this week off by sharing the first ever virtual interview I’ve ever done on the blog! When I started blogging, I knew I wanted this to be a space that I inspire others. In this season, I cannot commit to serving a multitude of organizations well. I need to pick and choose opportunities that I am passionate about. As you all well know, I adore opportunities to serve in the foster care community, and I also love to share these opportunities with you guys. So, today I’m excited for you to learn more about With Love.
1) Let’s start with you just telling me about With Love as though I know nothing about it!
With Love is a local non-profit that supports local children between the ages of 0-6 who are currently in foster care. All too often these kids are entering foster care with nothing but the clothing on their back or maybe a garbage bag with a few belongings in it and nothing else. With Love provides these kids with clothing, shoes, toys, books, gear, toiletries and much more. Foster parents can reach out to us via our website and submit a request and we will then deliver the items they need to their front door or provide a specified pick up time at our warehouse. All of the items we give out are donated to With Love from members of the community and are all in new or “like new” condition. We believe that these kids deserve the best of the best and treat every delivery like it is a gift we are giving and want it to be special for each child and family.
2) What ways can people volunteer? And since this is a blog for families, how can families get involved together?
There are so many ways to volunteer at With Love! Our warehouse is located in Tigard and we have several shifts each week that people can sign up for. Each shift is 2 hours long and will include various tasks like sorting, inspecting and packing up donations, sorting and matching up shoes, putting away clean clothes into our designated bins and more. These shifts are family friendly and we encourage kids who can read and follow simple directions to volunteer alongside of their parents. For the younger kids we have a nice play room that is right next to our volunteer work space so that parents can keep an eye on their littles while they volunteer. We also offer opportunities to take clothing home to be laundered and then brought back and we also have some other specific opportunities at the warehouse for those looking for a little bigger commitment. To sign up to volunteer just go to www.withloveoregon.org/volunteer and fill out the form. We will then send you a link to our online sign up calendar via SignUpGenius.com
3) With the holidays approaching, are there any initiatives we should know about?
We have a HUGE Holiday campaign called “Season of Giving”. This will launch in October and it is so fun! We partner with Nike and they hand make hundreds of stockings for us. We then collect new stocking stuffers to go in each stocking. We put 8-10 stocking stuffers in each stocking so we need to collect thousands of items! We ask people and businesses in our community to work on collecting stocking stuffers via donation drives or coordinated events where people are asked to bring stocking stuffers to donate. This is a GREAT way for sports teams, school groups, churches, book clubs, boy and girl scout troops and more to work together to collect stocking stuffers. We provide lists of items we need and a designated time to have them collected and turned in by so it is super simple and an incredibly fun and easy way to give back during the holidays! During Season of Giving we also work to collect brand new toys that we then give out all year long. These toys are separate from the stocking stuffers that are collected. We look for more businesses, schools, churches or groups who are wiling to host a new toy drive for us.
4) How do foster families learn about you/ how can they utilize your services if they don’t know about you guys yet?
There are many ways foster families learn about us. We work hard to spread the word about our services to all the local DHS offices so that case workers can tell the foster parents they are working with about us. We also rely on word of mouth, news outlets, churches and other local organizations like Every Child and Embrace Oregon.
5) What are some of the needs you guys meet?
We are meeting the need for supplies! Little kids between the ages of 0-6 need a lot of stuff! As a foster parent it can be burdensome to have to round up items like carseats, strollers, baby swings, pack n plays, formula, clothes, shoes and more. By providing these items free of charge we are allowing them to focus their time and resources on the kids in their care. And, by providing them either to their front door or during a specific pick up window we are alleviating the stress of having to run around town picking up items or stopping at multiple stores to get all the things they need.
6) For those families, who know that foster care isn’t an option for them right now how would you encourage them to get involved in serving these vulnerable children?
Everyone can support kids in foster care and families doing foster care! They can donate new or gently used items. They can volunteer their time here at our warehouse to help sort and inspect those donations before they go out. They can raise awareness in the community by spreading the word about With Love. They can have their business partner with us in many ways! We have local businesses providing new product like clothing, shoes and books to us. We have local businesses donating their services such as printing, advertising, labor or supplies to us. We have local individuals and businesses who are financially partnered with us to ensure that the funds to run our organization are always there. There are SO many ways to get involved! Everyone can find a way to make an impact on the lives of children in foster care and we are honored to partner with them to do so. To find out where you can donate items go here: www.withloveoregon.org/donate