A message from CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud
The calendar says that the first day of Winter will not arrive until December 21. But I think we all know that Winter decided not to wait this year. It’s here, whether we are ready or not. And ready or not, the year-end holidays will soon be upon us, as well.
As you and your loved ones prepare for the holidays, I hope you will keep Family & Children Services and those we serve in your thoughts. While many of us will dread the long lines at the mall or worry that our online orders won’t arrive on time, our clients have more difficult worries that revolve around living in poverty, despair, isolation, and hopelessness.
Your financial and in-kind donations to our HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund, Holiday Giving Program, In-House Holiday Store, and Year-Round Pantry do wonders for the children and adults that we serve. Please see the accompanying articles for information on these programs and other ways you can help during the next few weeks and beyond.
Our staff members and our clients are so grateful for your gifts. This newsletter provides many examples of exactly how your donations make a difference in their lives.
Thank you for your generosity this year. On behalf of all of us at Family & Children Services, I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy holiday season.
Sherry Thomas-Cloud, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Family & Children Services
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Julie and Son
A Son is Safe. A Mother is Grateful.
We wish you could see the peace on Julie’s face, now that she knows her six-year-old son will no longer be wandering the streets in the middle of the night in danger of being struck by a car.
Julie’s son has autism and he has run away “more times than I can recall,” she says. She usually finds him on her own, but the police have had to help, too. Child Protective Services gave her “jingle bells” to put on the doors and, although money was tight, she installed dead bolts and chain locks. “But there was nothing my son couldn’t figure out. I felt helpless.”
Enter Family & Children Services and our donor-supported HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund that provides a source of hope to hundreds of people like Julie and her son each year. The agency used HANDLE WITH CARE funds to help Julie install an electronic security system (and six months of prepaid service) that alerts her when her son bolts from the house.
“I can now sleep better knowing if my son wakes up at 5 a.m. and finds my keys, I will be alerted and can stop him,” Julie says. “I was shocked to come across people who really cared and were willing to make an investment in my family that has made a major impact. It really does take a village to raise a child!”
HANDLE WITH CARE is unique to our agency in that every dollar of every gift goes directly to meet critical client needs and services that cannot be met by other sources in our community. No dollars go to support our bottom line, just as it’s been throughout the 30+ years that we’ve operated this fund.
We wish you could see the smiles you put on the faces of Family & Children Services’ staff, board members, volunteers, and clients when you make a generous gift to HANDLE WITH CARE. We hope it puts a smile on your face, too.
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HANDLE WITH CARE
“Jordan” has more woes than any 13-year-old should have to bear: A learning disability, one parent with a mental illness, another with a substance use disorder.
Then, his family moved into a homeless shelter and within a few days, his plastic tote full of clothes was stolen. Distressed by having to wear the same dirty clothes every day, he stopped going to school.
In tears, he told his worker from Family & Children Services what had happened. In tears, she turned to HANDLE WITH CARE, the agency’s annual fund that has helped thousands of people like Jordan.
“HANDLE WITH CARE is unique to our agency,” says Courtenay VanderMolen, Director of Resource Development. “No dollar goes to support our bottom line. Every dollar goes directly to meet critical client needs and to provide direct client services when there is no other source in the community.”
“I wish you could have seen the tears of joy on Jordan’s face – and ours – when he received a large duffle bag full of new clothes. He is now back in school and doing much better, thanks to our generous donors.”
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A Source of Hope: Family & Children Services…and You
’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.”
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