OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Department of Social Services Foster Care Unit recently received a donation from members of the community to help children in their program.
More than 30 overnight bags and blankets were donated to help the kids transition to their new environments.
“We welcome this generous gift of caring for the children in our foster care program,” said Stacy Alvord, commissioner of Oswego County DSS. “It is so important for them to not only feel safe in their new environment, but also experience the nurturing support and compassion of the community.”
The project was spearheaded by Rose Favata and sponsored by friends and family through social media.
A local mom, nurse, and senior director with Thirty-One Gifts, Favata became concerned when she learned that some of the kids entering the foster care program arrive with only a garbage bag filled a few changes of clothes.
“In the past, we’ve held drives to donate bags to local cancer treatment centers for patients who had recently started chemotherapy,” said Favata. “This seemed a natural fit to do the same thing for kids entering into foster care.”
The response to the call-out was “amazing.”
“It was a total community effort; so many people stepped up to help by sponsoring bags and donating a little extra to include a blanket in each one,” she added, “Then we had a response from Alice Benjamin. She had worked with another project, a craft blanket drive, and donated the extra blankets to this mission. With this additional help, we were able to use the money we initially raised to buy blankets and put it toward purchasing more bags instead.”
The overnight bag and blanket drive took approximately three weeks before Favata delivered the donation to the foster care unit at the DSS office in Mexico.
“These bags will help kids feel that they have something that’s their own,” said Patty Pennock, senior caseworker with the Oswego County DSS Foster Care Unit. “Going to a new place with new people can be scary or difficult for many children. Having their own things and knowing that there are people in the community who are thinking of them and care about them can help make the process a little easier and provide them with some comfort.”
The Oswego County DSS Foster Care Unit accepts donations from individuals and groups to help children in the program.
For a list of the most-needed items, please call Pennock at 315-963-5382 on weekdays.
There is also a great need for foster parents throughout Oswego County.
“The responsibility of caring for someone else’s child may seem overwhelming at first,” said Pennock. “However, as applicants learn more about the support services available and how the foster parent role has changed in recent years, they will gain a new perspective about how vital this role is in the community.”
The unit provides ongoing informational sessions and bi-annual training programs for those who are interested in helping a child in need.
To learn about becoming a foster care parent, come to the next informational meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Oswego County DSS on Spring Street in Mexico.
For details, contact Patty Pennock at 315-963-5382 on weekdays or [email protected]