Hundreds of St. Louis County children can tuck into new beds thanks to Caring for Kids.
Founded by former judge and current family law attorney Susan Block in 2003, the local charity works to immediately provide essential resources to meet the needs of abused, neglected or at-risk children across St. Louis County. “We help kids from birth to age 21, and get our requests from the Family Court system of St. Louis County,” says Jan Abrams, the nonprofit’s executive director for the past 10 years. “These kids need just about anything, most often beds – we want to make them feel just like any other kid.”
Caring for Kids serves more than 300 individuals a year by supplying beds and bedding, clothing, books and toys, as well as cleaning supplies, meals, transportation and gift cards during the pandemic. “Kids right here in our community, who live next door to me and you, need help,” Abrams says, noting the organization can fulfill a child’s request within five working days. “[Our donors] realize it’s a big world out there, and we thank them for being so aware of what we need to do in life – and that’s help people.”
A small amount of money can make a huge impact in a child’s life, Abrams notes: “With $200, we can buy a bed, and with $25, we can buy bedding – that will go a long way in making a big difference to a kid.”
Among special wishes the nonprofit recently filled was for a local 5-year-old girl who has spent her life in three different foster homes. “All she wanted was a purple bicycle, and for $118, we got her a purple bike,” Abrams says. “That’s going to change that little girl’s life because she now knows there’s someone out there who cares about her … and I can’t wait for her reaction when she sees it.”
Abrams also recalls “the best $100 I can imagine spending” for a local 19-year-old, who has been in foster care since he was 9. “This young man, who is nonverbal and autistic, loves going to special-needs camp but needs transportation – and Caring for Kids will pay for it,” she says. “It’s a win-win because his foster parents get a week of respite, and he gets his week with his friends.”
Making children feel good makes Abrams and the organization’s 15 hardworking board members feel good, she says: “I get to help kids every day, and it’s the best thing in the world. We put smiles on the faces of kids and their families – that’s why we’re here.”
Caring for Kids, Inc., 8000 Bonhomme Ave., Suite 214, Clayton, 314-726-5437, caringforkids-stl.org
Click to read: A former Caring for Kids board president for two years, Foster now serves on the nonprofit’s executive board and fundraising committee.
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