Making a difference in children's lives with in-kind donations
In-kind donations are crucial to providing high quality services to kids in foster care. Whether it is school supplies, toiletries or new clothing, receiving these donations from the community improves the experiences of youth across our programs.
There are more than 400.000 kids in the foster care system nationally and 8,000 in Oregon. These are kids who have gone through traumatic events that will often take years of support and love to overcome. While we look to our supporters to consider adopting, foster parenting or volunteering, we understand that not everyone has the capacity or flexibility in their lives. When our supporters still want to help, we suggest they consider making either a financial contribution or in-kind donation.
For in-kind donations, the gift is extra meaningful. In our experience, children often arrive in foster care with all of their belongings in trash bags. The clothes they have are usually secondhand. Due to frequent moves in the system, they are missing basic and common personal possessions. Up until this point, it has been extremely challenging not to lose or leave things behind.
Our goal as an organization is to make sure these kids feel like they belong and that they are not secondhand. Like their peers in school, we want them to have nice items all their own.
As a nonprofit, we try to maximize our funds to serve as many kids as possible. When we receive in-kind donations from the community, we are able to focus more resources on direct services to supports youth.
Throughout the last few years, we have been amazed by the generosity of in-kind donations. From small children to retired adults, the kindness of our community is truly wonderful.
For her 12th birthday, Isabella decided to forgo gifts. Instead, she asked her friends to bring school supplies to her birthday party. Hands full of notebooks and backpacks, Isabella dropped by Boys & Girls Aid to pass off everything she had collected. With the cost of back to school supplies adding up to hundreds of dollars, these items were put to good use almost immediately.
Meredith Gordon, who sits on the Boys & Girls Aid Board of Ambassadors, has contributed many in-kind donations over the years, Meredith said that she and her husband learned about Boys & Girls Aid when they were expecting their first child. Her husband's co-workers wanted to throw him a baby shower at work, and he agreed on the condition that in lieu of presents, they give to a non-profit of their choice.
"We thought it made sense for us to find a local nonprofit that was either supporting children in need of families or supporting potential parents who needed help starting a family. Boys and Girls Aid does both!" Meredith said. "The mission drives you to an organization, but the people make you stay. I couldn't think of a better way to describe why I am connected to Boys and Girls Aid."
Many of Boys & Girls Aid's in-kind donation needs are program-specific. With a number of different programs serving children and teens, our organization has ongoing needs from books for young children to TI-84 calculators for high school students.
One example are the children we serve at our Nest program. Designed as a safe landing space for the most at-risk youth in Oregon, the Nest works with children who were formerly being kept in hotels. For many of the kids in the program, this is the first place they have ever felt safe in their young lives. Like any home that has kids between 0-9-years-old, the Nest has a number of needs for items that help with early childhood development.
For her birthday, Nikki West asked for books she could give to the children in our Nest program. We often try to celebrate the little things in this program and one is definitely seeing the children in the program relax, sit back and read.
"My friends and family gave generously, and Usborne Books & More matched their donations by 50%," Nikki said. "It was super fun and super easy, especially because I have so many giving people in my life. Reading is a gift, and to share this gift was truly special."
Nikki and her husband NIck West have been involved with Boys & Girls Aid for multiple years. Nick briefly served on the Boys & Girls Aid Board of Directors and Nikki sat on multiple event planning committees. Nikki said she and her husband continue to support the children served at Boys & Girls Aid because they want all kids to have the love and safety of family.
While it is amazing to have people from the community learn about Boys & Girls Aid and support our work, it is extra special when families served through the agency give back. Each year, we work with more than 1,000 children and adults through foster care, adoption and shelter services. For some, they want to give back to families and children currently using Boys & Girls Aid's services.
Ashleigh and Own Gold adopted their son from foster care through Boys & Girls Aid. Shortly after their adoption finalized, the Gold's were back at Boys & Girls Aid with stuffed animals for children in our programs. Ashleigh said it was great to give back to children who were in a similar situation to where Noah had been in foster care. While she hoped these children would soon find families of their own, she was happy her and Noah could give them stuffed animals.
Outside of individuals and families who have adopted through Boys & Girls Aid, we also receive in-kind donations from organizations and companies wanting to give back. Large groups from companies like Intel or Nike have led larger donation drives. We also see lots of involvement from smaller companies located throughout the Portland metro community.
Most recently, the amazing team at Searchlogic decided to donate socks to children at the Nest. The company got involved with Boys & Girls Aid after hearing about our organization and feeling tied to the mission. The group came through with hundreds of socks for the kids at the Nest.
"We were thrilled to support Boys & Girls Aid for many reasons. We consider ourselves a big family, and loved that we were supporting families and children finding families," Marita Maffit from Searchlogic said.
Similar to Searchlogic, a big group of employees from Intel donated 85 new pairs of pajamas for children in foster care. The group had done a pajama drive at work where different people on team bought multiple pairs. Like many of the items we receive, these pajamas have already been put to good use with kids in foster care expressing how much they loved them.
There are many ways to give through in-kind donations. To learn more, please contact Irena Broadwater at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.542.2303. We are thankful for every gift and the generosity is making a difference in children's lives.