(The following is from a press release)
The Y’s four branches (Conejo Valley YMCA, Miller Family YMCA of Newbury Park, Simi Valley Family YMCA and Triunfo YMCA) are drop-off sites for the items donated to the Ventura County Foster Parent Association (VCFPA).
According to VCFPA , every year 9,000 cases are open for neglect or abuse of children in Ventura County, Of those, 6,000 children end up being removed from their homes and are in need of a foster home.
“Most children are removed from unsafe conditions with the clothes they are wearing a little else,” said Janice Wise, Southeast Ventura County YMCA’s development director. “This is the YMCA’s way of helping those who are helping kids get through a difficult transition.”
“With each child we take in, the cost can be well over $500 per child for essentials including school supplies,” said Sami Martinez with VCFPA. “We provide clothes to help with the immediate needs. We then let the kids, foster parents, kinship and even birth parents come in and select whatever they need. By supply these critical items, we can hopefully retain quality foster homes that might not be able to afford the expense of taking more kids.”
Martinez speaks from experience. “This year, my family has taken in nine children ranging from 10 months to 17 years,” she said. “There would have been no way my family could have afforded to do so without all of the generous donations.”
VCFPA identified these items as being in the greatest demand: diapers, onesies, t-shirts, pants, bedding (twin and crib), socks, shorts, sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets, shoes and underwear. Items are distributed to those in need at Rachel’s Closet in Ventura. The site was created after Rachel Maurer came to the association asking how she could help foster kids as part of a high school project.
VCPA will collect the items from the YMCA branches twice a month. The donations are not donations to the Y. They are donations to the VCFPA. Donors will receive donation receipts from the VCFPA.
“For the Y, it is our social responsibility to assist other nonprofits whenever we can,” said Doug Platts, Southeast Ventura County YMCA board chair who adopted his son after welcoming him into his home as a foster child. “When VCFPA asked for our help, we jumped at the chance. We are committed to providing foster kids with clean, fresh clothing that we hope will bring some normalcy to their lives.”