Helping Hands

sunflower garden

By: Courtney Edge-Mattos

There are so many wonderful people out there who want to support the children and families with whom we work.  Many want to help, but aren’t in a place in their life where foster care is the right choice.  We are often asked, what else can I do?  How can I help?  Well, friends, here are some ideas!  Hopefully one will be right for you.

  • Hire a foster youth for an internship or job
  • Organize a donation drive to gather supplies needed for children and families.  Not sure what would be helpful? Here are some ideas:
    1. Soft stuffed animals
    2. Books
    3. School supplies
    4. Socks and Underwear
    5. Diapers and Baby Supplies
    6. Clothing
    7. Coats, Winter Hats, Winter Gloves, Scarves
    8. Shoes
    9. Toiletries and Hygiene Products (tooth brushes, tooth paste, floss, hair brushes, combs, hair picks, shampoos for various hair types, body wash, deodorant/antiperspirant, nail files, hair elastics, face wash, facial tissue, feminine hygiene products, adult diapers)
    10. Towels and Wash Cloths
    11. Slippers and Pajamas
    12. Journals and Pens
    13. Coloring Books and Crayons or Colored Pencils
    14. Bedding, like Pillows, Comforters, Sheets, and Waterproof Mattress Covers
    15. Duffel Bags or Luggage
    16. Scrap Booking Supplies
    17. Art Supplies
    18. Ornaments for Holidays
    19. Kitchenware, Cleaning Supplies, or House Wares for Parents Settling in New Homes after Homelessness
  • If you have a special skill, offer to teach a class for kids or young adults (resume writing, interviewing skills, photography, yoga, meditation, basketball, dance, baking, etc)
  • If you already teach extra curricular activities of some kind, consider offering one spot to a child or youth in care by reaching out to a local agency
  • Sponsor a child’s birthday or holiday gift
  • Host an informational session about foster care at your home or a local group to which you belong, like your office, a place of worship, book club, parenting group, etc
  • Offer to hang up fliers in your community to raise awareness
  • Reach out to a local agency and see if you could become a visiting resource for a child or youth who may have limited supportive people in their lives
  • Create a welcome bag for a child new to foster care.  Bags can include a cozy blanket, socks, a soft stuffed animal, a book, a picture frame, a squeeze ball or other sensory item, a journal and pens, a night light, an alarm clock, an outfit, pajamas, or other items that you imagine would be helpful to a child with few possessions
  • Offer to purchase sporting equipment for a child or youth who would like to participate on a team
  • Become a Parent Mentor to parents who are regaining custody of their children and could use a mentor
  • Reach out to local foster parents and offer gift cards of take-out to a local restaurant
  • Offer a monthly subscription box of some kind to a foster care program, like a movie, game, family fun, or food subscription that can be given to a different family each month as a little pick-me-up or reward
  • If you are an auto mechanic, offer oil changes to foster parents at a discount (they drive A LOT!)
  • Put together a care package for a youth away at college
  • Put together a First Apartment Package for a youth moving into their first apartment.  That could include a dust pan and broom, a dish rack, cleaning supplies, kitchen towels, toilet paper, a key chain, curtains, a first aid kit, etc.
  • Repost and share foster care information on social media to increase community awareness about the needs of children and youth in care
  • If you own a business, offer discounts for foster children, youth, programs, and foster parents
  • If you know a foster parent, offer to become approved to help care for their foster children.  The process will likely involve a background check, CPR classes, and perhaps an introductory class to working with foster children, but will allow you to make a huge difference in the life of a foster parent and child.



There are so many ways to make a positive impact on those involved with the foster care system.  If you’d like to learn more, please reach out to us for more information and become part of our Caring Community!


#FosterHopeFosterCare #OpenHeartsOpenHomes #CaringCommunity


JRI Service Navigator

Do you have a question about JRI services?

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.