Idaho Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (IDFAPA) is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to improve the care and support of foster and adoptive children in the state of Idaho. But with 2,000 kids in the Idaho foster care system, they struggle to find ways to better support children that have been traumatized after being pulled from the only home they’ve ever known. A home where they must leave everything behind except for the clothes on their backs.
A simple way to help children in any foster care system is to donate essential items. Even when the economy goes downhill and cash is donated less often, there are plenty of easy items that can support children in their time of need. Here are the top six.
6. Stuffed Animals
As we all know, children of all ages need toys to carry around and play with. Children often bond with their favorite toys, and for children going through hardships, a friend that they can carry around with them is just what a foster child needs.
Stuffed animals are fun to play with and have a low risk of injuring the child playing with it. Studies have shown that stuffed animals provide a sense of safety, comfort, and reliability in a frightening world. Stuffed animals also reduce anxiety, and most local Idaho foster kids often experience a form of trauma or anxiety when placed in a new environment.
5. School Supplies
Being placed in the foster care system is never convenient, and as terrible as it sounds, many aspects of life tend to continue moving forward. This includes school. For many states like Idaho, half of the year is dedicated to school, and falling behind in school is easy when a foster kid is pulled from their home and placed in a strange new place. A donation of basic school supplies, pencils, notebooks, and lunch boxes can support any local child going to school and can be much more helpful to an Idaho foster kid that recently lost everything and has nothing.
When a person is prepared to leave their home, how much prep time do they get? A day? A week? How much time does a child have when they are picked up by social services? Next to none, and most of the time, they aren’t even the ones in charge of packing their own clothes or shoes. After a foster kid is picked up from their home, a social service agent will quickly grab a garbage bag’s worth of clothes to send along with the kids. Sometimes the basics aren’t even packed with things like underwear and socks.
Donating clothes is both an essential and an easy item to donate because everyone has clothes they don’t wear anymore, and instead of throwing them away, you can easily take them to one of IDFAPA’s drop-off locations and support local Idaho foster kids who need them.
3. Hygiene Kits
Many people have hygiene kits without even realizing it. Shampoo and body wash, hair gel, a comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, and deodorant are all items that people need to kill germs and avoid getting sick. Not only that, but children often feel more confident when they don’t have body odor or bad breath. Donating any one of these items listed in this paragraph is more than helpful to any man, woman, or child.
While good hygiene seems like a no-brainer, many children before joining the foster care system are neglected by their parents and aren’t taught the fundamentals of good hygiene. Donating a hygiene kit or even just a bar of soap is a good start to help Idaho foster kids be cleaner, more hygienic, and happier, especially in times of trauma.
Many children, when they go on family trips, never need to own a suitcase because their clothes would get stored in their parents’ suitcases, but even if a child does own a suitcase or even a duffle bag, those items aren’t taken with them when placed in the foster care system. The quickest and most convenient method is often a garbage bag from the kitchen stuffed with a few essentials a child needs to be packed away for them by a service worker.
When a person carries around a garbage bag full of items, the message that people read, especially the foster kids, is that the child is unhygienic and gross, and what they own is practically garbage. Having a suitcase or even a duffel bag can give children pride in what they own and can prevent people from judging them harshly, making this an essential item to support Idaho foster kids on the move.
1. Money (Through Amazon Smile)!
While this type of donation is obvious and has the most flexibility, and is easily the most accessible than any of the other donations on this list, it’s often the hardest to give away. Even a small amount of cash at times seems like it won’t make a difference, and with the economy getting worse and gas prices continuing to rise, even the wealthiest family needs all the money they can get their hands on. What if there was a way to donate money to your local charity without giving them a dime of your own hard-earned cash? Amazon Smile can help.
There are over 310 million active users on Amazon, and all of them have access to Amazon Smile. Buying through smile.amazon.com is the same as buying through amazon.com. However, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to any nonprofit charity of your choosing every time you make a purchase, including IDFAPA. In other words, you can buy whatever you need without spending extra money on a donation to a local Idaho foster kid.
Help a child today!
IDFAPA is the best place for local Idaho kids to be after a traumatic event leaves them without a home, but no matter where they go, they carry a lot of fear, pain, and anxiety with them. All six of these items are essential to support a child through the foster care system, and you can donate today to help them through this grueling process.
If you want to learn more about IDFAPA or sign up for Amazon Smile to donate to local Idaho foster kids near you, click on the pictures below to get started.