The Foster Closet of Bloomington was started by three women with a long-held interest in supporting foster families. So far, we’ve served 500 children in 220 families.
Did you know that more than 420,000 children and teenagers live in foster care in the US, including more than 30,000 in Indiana?
We started the Foster Closet in March 2021 as a way to provide local foster families with the clothing and supplies they needed when they took in a new foster child. We knew what a challenging but absolutely vital service these families provide to our community, and we wanted to help.
We soon found that another group needed at least as much help: the many grandmas, aunts, and other relatives who are raising their grandkids/nieces/nephews/cousins, because the children’s parents are incapacitated.
We’ve been so gratified to expand very quickly! In our eight months of existence, we’ve provided help to 500 children in 220 families (serving 23 of these families more than once).
And we’ve expanded to include families in shelters such as Middle Way House and New Hope for Families and to provide help through the county Department of Child Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Youth Shelter, Shalom, the Salvation Army, Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), and Team Rubicon (which serves Afghani refugees). Through Susie’s Place and the Bloomington Police we connect with families of children and teens who have experienced abuse.
Both of our volunteer leaders, Margie Hershey and Martha Nord, have had direct experience with foster and adoptive life. Margie and Martha are both adoptive parents, and Martha and her husband were foster parents in Monroe County for 10 years and learned first-hand the need for community support. We welcome the active involvement of others!
For those who need additional help, you might try the Facebook pages called “Monroe County Area Mutual Aid” and “Freecycle Bloomington,” where people post what they have available and what they need.