June Hands and Feet; “Overwhelming”
By: Brad Peterson
Annette is one of the young ladies who recently was in foster care and transitioned out of foster care to live independently.
The Life 96.5 Hands and Feet opportunity was called “Loads of Love” where we asked our listeners to get a laundry basket and fill it with items to get them off to a good start in young adulthood.
“Annette was amazed and SO grateful,” said Amy Witt, Senior Director of Children and Youth Services at Lutheran Social Services. “She could not believe the items that were donated.”
The item she was most excited about was a can opener. Witt said that Annette has needed one and was so excited.
Families, co-workers, Bible study groups made a difference in June and donated a long list of items, including, sheet sets, towel sets, kitchen towels, blankets, soaps for laundry, hand and body, shampoos and other bathroom necessities. Kitchen supplies were also very popular.
The goal for the month was 30 filled baskets and Witt said there are 57 baskets that have been donated thus far and more coming in.
“When we explain to the youth about the project the kids often ask ‘where did the stuff come from and why would someone do that for me’?”
Witt added, “It pulls at my heart when I hear their awe that someone they don’t know would reach out to help them and pray for them just because they care and want them to be successful – and this total stranger is wanting absolutely nothing in return. Unfortunately, this is not something many of our young people have experienced before, so I thank you and I thank your listeners for helping so many people see God’s love through this project.”
As Witt explained the success of “Loads of Love” with tears in her eyes she also explained the program that you can still donate to, “our ILS (Independent Living Skills) Social Workers worked with them as they transitioned. This work included education on life skills, finances, budgeting, bank accounts, job skills, housing, etc., as well as resource referrals and general support. Our staff start working with youth in foster care when they are between 15 and 16 and work with them as they transition from foster care. We can work with youth until they are 21 years old, but often continue offering support even after that point.”
When youth are transitioning to living independently, LSS can offer them some assistance in regard to the items needed to set up their living space. However, what theyl can offer is limited and generally not enough to really get someone started in their own space, so that is where “Loads of Love” comes in. “Loads of Love” has given LSS some additional items to offer youth which will help them use the other resources and finances they have in different ways (rent, car payment, food, clothing, etc.).
“Living independently”, by the way, can mean many things. Some examples would be moving to their own apartment, going to college, moving in with a friend or family member, or moving to an Independent Living program/facility.
Thanks again for donating so generously! You are truly the hands and feet of Jesus.