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A Source of Hope: Family & Children Services…and You

December, 2018

’Tis the season for giving. And Family & Children Services has several ways to help you get in the giving spirit during this holiday season and throughout the year.

“We could not do all that we do without our generous donors and volunteers,” says Family & Children Services CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud. “I wish you could see the tears of joy that your acts of kindness put on our clients’ faces, on OUR faces.”

Following are several ways that you can help us fulfill our mission during this holiday season and beyond. (Be sure to see the accompanying article on our HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund to understand the impact that your financial contribution has on our clients).

Holiday Giving Program

While the holiday season is a joyful time for most of us, it’s a time of desperation and loneliness for many we serve. Through our Holiday Giving Program, we match community donors with individuals and families in great need. Donors provide in-kind donations of food, clothing, books, toys, household supplies, personal care items, and more.

“The Holiday Giving program provides a source of hope for families in crisis and children in our Foster Care Programs who are separated from their families,” says Holiday Giving Program Coordinator Dale Hein. “It tells them that there are people in our community who care.”

According to Hein, the program has helped thousands of individuals and families since it began in 2008. In 2017, nearly 600 individuals were matched with 138 community donors, which include individuals, families, community organizations, schools, small businesses, and large corporations. In 2018, nearly 150 donors signed on to help.

Please note that the Holiday Giving Program has accepted all the donors it can accommodate for 2018. If you’d like to be a Holiday Giving Program donor in 2019, please contact Dale at Dale.Hein@fcsource.org. Until then, please consider donating to one of our programs below.

Dale Hein


In-House Holiday Store

Often, a family’s need comes to the attention of a Family & Children’s Services therapist or worker during the final days before the holiday. Our In-House Holiday Store allows staff members to provide clients with donated items so they can have something to give to their children or other loved ones during the holiday. The In-House Store is entirely stocked by community donations.

“Donors to our In-House Holiday Store make a huge impact on our families and children,” said Development Administrator Erin Smith. “The store allows us to provide for children who come into foster care over the holidays and families who have recently started services with the agency.”

In 2017, the In-House Holiday Store served 628 individuals. There is still time to donate to our 2018 store. Please contact Erin at ErinS@fcsource.org or 373.0248, extension 4413. Items (new only, please) may be delivered to 1608 Lake St., in Kalamazoo or 778 West Columbia Ave., in Battle Creek.

Year-Round Pantry

Another wonderful way for businesses, organizations, families, and individuals to partner with Family & Children Services is through a donation of new items to our Year-Round Pantry, which helps clients with many essentials throughout the year.

Suggested items include health and beauty aids, diapers, wipes and formula, bed and bath linens, household cleaning supplies, table service, and kitchen wares. For a complete list, visit Year-Round Panty.

The Pantry can also accept nonperishable foods in cans, bottles, boxes, or bags, as well as clothes, toys, games, and other items.

What's New


Resource Room and LINK Program Wish-Lists

Play therapy is critical for children who have been traumatized or are living with mental health challenges. Our therapists and caseworkers are skilled at helping them and could use your help in their programs.

Popsicle sticks, for example. And buttons. And construction paper, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, Legos, puppets, hula hoops, board games, balloons, colored pencils, glue sticks…the wish-list is long.

Two wish-lists, actually. One from the Resource Room that serves our Family Center and one from our LINK afterschool program that serves youths ages six to 17 who have a mental health diagnosis or a developmental disability. LINK helps children develop the social and emotional skills necessary for them to be successful at school, at home, and in their communities.

Arts and Science Wishlist


Arts and Science Wishlist


Get Hands On: Volunteer.

Volunteers are an important part of helping us fulfill our mission to strengthen the lives of children, individuals, and families. We have volunteers that work on a regular schedule, on annual projects, and even on a one-time basis. We will match your interests, availability, and skills to our volunteer opportunities.

“We love our volunteers and we’re always looking for people to join their ranks,” says Director of Resource Development Courtenay VanderMolen. “Special shout-out to the folks from Eaton Corporation who sponsor our annual Foster Parent Appreciation Picnic, Junior League of Kalamazoo members who put on an Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween Trunk-or-Treat, Stryker Corporation employees who have led countless Lean Management trainings for staff and board members, and Stryker and Pfizer who have worked on the landscaping at our Family Center and Crisis Residential and Respite homes.

“We also appreciate the many expert members of our all-volunteer Board and Community advisory committees who give of their time and talents to help us.”

Here are some of the many ways you can volunteer at Family & Children Services:

  • Create a personal fundraising page.
  • Organize a diaper or personal care product drive for our pantry.
  • Plan and execute a special event for children in our Foster Care program.
  • Assist with clerical tasks in our offices.
  • Help maintain our gardens and landscaping throughout spring, summer, and fall.
  • Educate others about the work of Family & Children Services at fairs and festivals.
  • Provide childcare during our Trauma Support Groups.
  • Become a foster parent.

Volunteer opportunities are available for individuals, groups, and families. In order to protect the privacy and safety or our clients, we may require Central Registry Clearance and Confidentiality Agreements to be completed prior to working in certain volunteer capacities

Please contact Courtenay at Courtenay.VanderMolen@fcsource.org or 269.488.7936 for more information.

Be a Source of Hope

In the spring, we will begin our annual Pack-A-Child-for Camp summer program. In summer, we will ask for your help to fill our annual Back to School Drive wish-list. In addition to these and the other ways above ways to give, please consider making a Planned or Deferred Gift to our agency or a gift to our Circle of Hope endowment. And, of course, our HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund supports the critical needs of our clients right now.

Whichever way you chose to help, please know that we and our clients are so grateful. Family & Children Services has been a source of hope for vulnerable children and adults in our communities for more than 115 years.

You are a source of hope to all of us.