The Kentucky Ministry for Foster Families sees itself as a support movement

OWENSBORO, Ky. (CNS) ─ One thing foster parents want more than anything else is support, said the founder and president of Borrowed Hearts Owensboro in western Kentucky.

Borrowed Hearts is a local ministry for children and foster families, providing donated clothing, hygiene products and toys as well as that much needed support. All items are available for host families to “shop” at the store for free.

Borrowed Hearts founder and president Amanda Van Bussum was herself an adoptive mother for 10 years. She understands the unique calling and its unique challenges and joys.

“It’s all you learn that you don’t know initially,” Van Bussum, who lives in Newburgh, Indiana, in the Diocese of Evansville, and belongs to St. John the Evangelist Parish told Daylight. , Indiana.

Borrowed Hearts opened in Owensboro in December 2019, just months before COVID-19 hit the United States.

Van Bussum said the pandemic, related shutdowns and changing regulations were making things difficult for the fledgling nonprofit, but “we didn’t want to stop serving.”

Board members have found creative ways to continue to serve. They accepted donations on their own porches, coordinated with host families by leaving items outside Borrowed Hearts’ door for families to pick up, and even delivered items to families’ homes.

As restrictions eased, Borrowed Hearts began posting its hours on Facebook and then scheduled appointments for foster families to visit and receive personalized attention.

It turned out to be a great way to serve each family individually, and Van Bussum said the ministry continued this system even as the pandemic waned. Currently they have slots available for two families every half hour during Borrowed Hearts hours of operation.

“Sometimes more than shopping, they need to talk,” Van Bussum said, explaining that slots help “to be able to focus on individuals.”

She added that they have separate time slots for donation drop-offs.

“We want to pour into the families of our store, and also affirm and validate the people who bring donations,” she said. The Western Kentucky Catholicnewspaper of the Diocese of Owensboro.

The love and care for this ministry is evident in the organization and aesthetics of the store itself.

In addition to the clothing departments, Borrowed Hearts also offers ready-to-use hygiene kits for babies, children and teenagers when they are first placed in foster care.

The ministry also provides snack baskets to families during initial placement because, as Van Bussum said, “Familiar foods can be such a comfort to a child who is in transition or who has experienced trauma.”

Everything at Borrowed Hearts has been donated “so obviously the biggest task is to stay on top of the donations.”

Borrowed Hearts also has regular volunteers and volunteer groups, such as Friends of Sinners, American Heritage Girls, and local student and youth groups.

The group serves approximately 40-50 children per month, and ages range from babies to teenagers.

“Most families come shopping every season,” Van Bussum said. Normally they come to Borrowed Hearts on initial placement, but the ministry encourages families to visit even more frequently.

She pointed out that “it’s how the community supports you…it’s nice to know that you don’t have to do everything yourself.” She also wants Borrowed Hearts to be more than a store. “I want it to be a movement, where people can come and get their fill.”

“We’re here for the whole trip,” she added. “We want to walk alongside them and not just during placement.”

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Barnstead is editor of Western Kentucky Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of Owensboro.

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