Local Foster Families Find Help & Hope Through Non-Profit, "Vault Fostering Community"
If you’ve ever been a foster parent, or considered it, then you’ve probably wondered how in the world you’re supposed to be prepared for a short-notice placement when you have no idea who will be coming into your care. The needs of an older child or teenager are vastly different than that of a baby or toddler…and even among babies and toddlers, clothing sizes, car seat needs, feeding essentials, etc., vary greatly. Which is exactly why local non-profit founder, Rachel Russo, says she and a friend created Vault Fostering Community.
“Vault exists to provide support and resources to families who are fostering,” Rachel explained through our email interview. “Families are often given only a few hours’ notice to prepare for their placement. We provide things like beds, car seats, strollers, clothing, shoes and other basic items that children immediately need when placed in a home.”
And it all started over coffee.
“In 2013 when I was considering becoming a foster parent, I was visiting with my friend, Misty, and sharing my concerns about not having the resources I would need to provide for these kids. She said, ‘That’s a silly thing for you to be worried about: There are so many people who can’t foster children but would be willing to donate used items for you to do it.’ That conversation led to many others and we knew that we had a very simple solution to a huge need. All we needed to do was gather the stuff in a central place and let people know they could come and get it!”
Rachel and Misty’s mission—which began in their garages—quickly grew into a 2600-square-foot warehouse, full of donated items just waiting for foster families in need. And Vault has helped over 300 of those families to date.
“Every phone call or email requesting items is a cry for help,” Rachel explained. “When our foster parents arrive at Vault to pick up what they need, they are often wide-eyed, frazzled and overwhelmed by what the next few days will bring. The relief they express when they realize all of the things that we have available to them is my favorite thing. It’s THE REASON we exist. They’re doing the hard work; all we are doing is our small part.”
But that “small part” that Vault plays is still a rather large task and Rachel and her VaultKeepers (volunteers) can’t do it alone. There are bills to be paid such as warehouse rent and electricity…and of course, there’s always a need for item donations. Here are three ways Rachel says YOU can get involved:
1) Volunteer as a VaultKeeper.
“Vault does not have paid employees; we are 100% run by volunteers. A typical shift as a VaultKeeper consists of sorting and hanging clothing, accepting, inspecting, and organizing donations, and greeting and helping foster parents to ‘shop’. Some shifts are very busy, some are very quiet....either way we NEED someone here during our open warehouse hours. Kids are always welcome; we just ask that you tidy up after them.”
2) Donate money.
“Aside from consistent volunteers, our greatest need is monetary donations. Our funding comes solely from individuals, local churches, and our annual fundraiser, the ‘One Less Race’. You can help by hosting a lemonade stand or garage sale for Vault! You can commit to a monthly donation. You can ask your church, life group, or business to commit to a monthly contribution as well...all will help us keep the lights on at Vault!”
3) Donate items.
“We are currently in need of the following items in new or gently used condition: high chairs, double strollers, children-sized hangers, convertible car seats and boosters, baby monitors, pack and plays, crib/twin mattress protectors, crib sheets, and twin bedding. We also always need brand new pajamas, underwear, diapers and wipes.”
You can also support Vault by attending any one of our monthly Sowing Seeds Women’s Group meet-ups in November, December, and January…as Vault is our chosen fundraising beneficiary for this quarter. We’ll collect monetary donations at each event while we take part in fun activities, enjoy fantastic food and beverage, and make new friends. You’ll find tickets to our November 16th event, a Paint-and-Sip sign-making class hosted by Rusty Bucket Designs and located at Gina Marie’s Art studio, HERE!
Want to take a tour of Vault, donate items, or chat with Rachel or her VaultKeepers yourself? You’ll find them on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am-1pm at 105 Shooting Club Rd, Suite 102 in Boerne. You’ll also find Vault on the Web, Facebook, and Instagram.
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