Everyday Heroes: Nonprofit is dedicated to helping foster kids, families 'With Love'
In this week's Everyday Heroes, we meet the people and volunteers from With Love, a Tigard nonprofit group that supports foster kids and foster families with clothing, bedding, toys and toiletries.
An unassuming warehouse in Tigard is the home for a group dedicated to helping foster kids.
The shelves at the With Love headquarters are not only filled with supplies, but also compassion and care.
"The average child is placed into care wearing just the clothes on their back and nothing else, so we are a service and support system to them and their foster parents," said Operations Manager Krissy Hires. "Volunteers spend a combined 500 hours a month providing foster parents and kids with the things they need to get a head start in their new homes. "They need these resources, they need these supplies, so that when these kids come into their homes they are equipped to help take care of them and love on them."
Most of the work that goes on at With Love is done by volunteers who give their personal time to help kids going into foster care.
"We love our volunteers," Hires said. "We would not be able to do what we do without our volunteers, and they're an integral part of what we're doing."
One of those volunteers is Ralpha Newton, a retired educator. She can relate to the struggles foster families face every day.
"I've been a foster parent in the past, and I've been an adoptive parent, so I've experienced that getting a child that has no clothes," Newton said. "So I recognize that With Love filled a need that was not filled by any other agency or any other group."
She sees this organization and its volunteers as part of a bigger picture.
"I see it as part of our duty as adults to help that next generation come along," she said.
The donations come from community members and partnering businesses and are all inspected, cleaned and organized.
When With Love gets a request for supplies, the volunteers are ready to pack them up and personalize them.
"When we talk to a foster family, we ask them like, does this child, do they have a favorite character that they like? Do they like Legos or are they really into superheroes?" Hires said.
The supplies are then delivered to the grateful foster families.
"It's amazing other foster parents have said it, and I'll say it too, it's like Christmas morning getting all this brand-new stuff," said foster mom Becky. "Just being able to bless these kids and wherever they're off to next, being able to send them with so much more than they came with, and really good stuff you can use for a long time."
With Love and its volunteers consider their work more than just delivering supplies.
"It's really telling these kids that you're important, you're special, someone cares for you, so that way the story that their life ... they may or may not know that we delivered something to them, but it's our hope that they will receive these things and feel cared for and feel like they can go conquer the world," Hires said.
With Love accepts donations of new or like new clothing, including baby gear, toys and books and personal items.
All of the supplies are provided to foster kids and their families free of charge.