Imagine being taken from your home without warning and sent somewhere unfamiliar to you with only the clothes on your back. Sadly, that’s the reality many foster children face each day. In New Hampshire alone, as many as 100 children a month come into foster care, often with nothing in their hands — and, due to the opioid epidemic, that number is steadily climbing. Courts are only responsible for determining whether a child must enter the foster care system, not for what comes next.
Dedicated foster parents do their best to provide love, support, warm food, clean clothes and a safe environment for these children, but the upfront cost of caring for a child makes it untenable for many families to continue fostering. Even those who do continue to foster typically require a “recovery” period to recoup costs after taking in a child, which further contributes to the shortage of foster parents.
Lynette Kaichen experienced this firsthand when she and her husband became foster parents, and knew she had to do something about it. She began collecting gently used clothing from co-workers to give to foster families and homes but soon realized that collecting, sorting and distributing the clothing was too big of a task to take on alone. That’s how The Pass Along Project was born.
The Pass Along Project is a cooperative effort between local community volunteers to collect and redistribute new (in the case of pajamas, underwear and socks) and gently used clothing in age- and gender-specific bundles. The Pass Along Project has created hubs throughout New Hampshire where donors can drop off clothing and volunteers sort clothing into bundles. Each bundle contains a starter wardrobe, similar to what a child might pack when going away for camp, which includes multiple pairs of pants, shorts, shirts (both long- and short-sleeve), sweatshirts and jackets. In any other situation, this amount of clothing could easily cost a foster parent upwards of $300 without a guarantee of reimbursement.
To receive a bundle, foster parents or their State Resource Worker need only call, text or email The Pass Along Project with the sizes and gender of the children in their care; a volunteer will then bring the bundle to the foster home, often within an hour of receiving the initial call. This relieves foster parents from worrying about expenses and enables them to focus on providing the love and care these children in need deserve.
The Seacoast Board of Realtors is hosting a children’s clothing drive to benefit The Pass Along Project now through June 6th. Blue Water Mortgage Corporation is proud to support this effort, as well as sponsor The Pass Along Project, especially because Lynette Kaichen is a valued member of our mortgage broker team. Lynette brings the same passion and dedication to guiding clients through the mortgage application process as she does helping children in need.
If you are interested in participating in the clothing drive, please bring donations to either Blue Water Mortgage’s office at 7 Merrill Industrial Dr in Hampton, NH, the Seacoast Board of Realtors’ office at 110 Corporate Dr in Portsmouth, NH or at any of the drop-off locations listed on The Pass Along Project’s website. If you’d like to learn more about The Pass Along Project, volunteer or would like to request a bundle, please email email@example.com or call 603-817-9011.
Blue Water is also proud to participate in the Realtor Day of Caring on June 6th, also hosted by the Seacoast Board of Realtors; this year’s event includes assorted projects at New Generation shelter and roadside cleanup at Stratham Hill Park in Stratham, NH. If you’re interested in participating in the Realtor Day of Caring, you can sign up here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.