5. March 2012 14:51
Mary Muliett, director of Services for Children & Families in Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor, attended a basketball game at Wayland High School Thursday night and came back with a check for $2,000 and load of stuffed animals.
Lutheran Social Services became the beneficiary of the school’s annual fundraiser at the suggestion of student Mercedes Rookus, whose parents have adopted many children from foster care through Lutheran Adoption Service. Mercedes noted that when her younger siblings came into care, they received stuffed animals that they still sleep with.
The school council asked the students to bring stuffed animals to Thursday’s game, when they presented a check for the funds they raised. At halftime, the stuffed animals were tossed onto the court. The students also wore T-shirts that said “It’s our time to be heroes.”
The Southwest Michigan program will use the funds to purchase gift cards for children coming into care and bus tokens to help birth parents get to appointments. Every child who comes into care will be able to select a stuffed animal from the supply donated by the students. “Having great partnerships with our caregivers provides wonderful opportunities to enhance the services we provide,” said Mary (at right in the photo).
23. September 2011 11:11
SWELL – Sharing With Everyone Lutheran Love – is a swell group of volunteers from Lutheran churches in the Kalamazoo area who come together to support the children in Lutheran Social Services’ foster care program. Over the summer, they put together 70 backpacks for the children in Lutheran Social Services’ care in southwest Michigan, stuffing them with everything a child needs to begin the school year right. The backpacks (which seemed almost bigger than the children who received them) contained toiletries such as soap, toothbrush and toothpaste as well as school supplies like notebooks, glue, scissors, crayons, pens, pencils, markers and more. Foster parents receive a daily stipend to provide for all the children’s needs, but at the beginning of the school year, when children need so much all at once, paying for everything can be a struggle. “Our children’s faces lit up when they saw their backpacks,” reported Mary Muliett, director of Services for Children & Families in Southwest Michigan. The Kalamazoo-area foster care program has been growing quickly. As a result of the Children’s Rights settlement, many foster care cases are being transferred from the Department of Human Services to private providers like Lutheran Social Services.