KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- When children are removed from their homes and placed into foster care, often they come with just the clothing they happen to be wearing at the time.
This is especially difficult for children when it comes time to return to school, said Kendy Skidmore, resource coordinator assistant and foster family recruiter for the Department of Children and Families.
While foster parents get monthly stipends to use on clothing and food for the children in their care, there is sometimes a delay in getting it, and back-to-school supplies and clothes are an increased cost. To help with that, the United Methodist Faith Community had donated 16 $50 Staples gift cards and 25 $150 J.C. Penney gift cards to Bennington children in foster care, said Skidmore.
The Bennington Methodists used to have a congregation in what it now the Green Mountain Christian Center on Main Street until they sold the building and joined the Shaftsbury United Methodist Church. Irene Hackett, a member of the Methodist congregation, said Tuesday that her group is fully joined with the Shaftsbury church, however the money it received from selling the Bennington church must be spent in Bennington.
"We decided as a group that were going to ‘Bless Bennington,’" she said.
Using the funds generated from investing the sale profit, the group plans to do more work with children in foster care, as well as help out in other areas. Planning still needs to be done for many, but on the list is a dinner at the Bennington Congregational Church on Hillside Street, and a tag sale.
She said the group is currently not seeking to take over anything, but for now wishes to assist other groups with their charitable activities. "Hopefully we’ll find a niche, an area covered by somebody else," she said.
Skidmore said the donation to the DCF foster families occurred before school started and went mainly to middle school and high school age children. She said one of the requirements was they buy a good backpack.
She said DCF is always seeking families to offer foster care. It holds training sessions twice a year, with one beginning this week. Those interested can call 802-442-8138.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.