Portland charities help foster kids get back to school

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With Love and Project Lemonade are working hard to get foster kids ready for school

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon currently has 11,000 kids in foster care — double the national average. A lot of these kids are getting ready to head back to school, but they don’t typically have what they need to start the year off right.

Two charities in the Portland Metro area are working to change that.

With Love

Located in Tigard, With Love strives to provide families with foster kids ages 0-6 with everything from clothes and car seats to toys and diapers so they can focus on loving their little one — free of charge.

“When you serve a kid in foster care, sometimes you have an hours notice so all of a sudden you’re getting a new family member in two hours,” said With Love Founder Allie Roth. “As a foster family, that’s a lot to take in.”​

Roth told KOIN it’s their goal to help retain foster parents — and that means supporting them.

Roth’s hope is to create a strong pool of quality foster parents, so they can match that child to the right family — and the children and parents are able to have a good connection. With Love not only offers tangible goods for free but it also offers community events that are fun and special for foster parents and the children they care for.  

“You’re asked to do so much when you’re a foster parent, we just want to show up and love these families and hopefully retain them so they’ll say yes in the future,” Roth said. 

Project Lemonade

The other charity, Project Lemonade in Portland, serves school-age children 5 and up with a true shopping experience, offering free clothes at their storefront in the Llyod Center.

“We get a lot of great feedback from foster parents and kids saying thank you for creating this space where we can come and feel normal,” said Project Lemonade Program Director Lindsay McDonnell. ​

Both of these organizations are an onramp to help more people say “yes”  to kids in foster care.

“When people show up and they give their time, they’re helping a child in foster care. When they’re donating their kid’s items, it’s helping a kid in foster care,” Roth said. “No longer is it you’re a foster parent or you’re not — I’m not a foster parent, but I can serve a child in foster care.” 

With Love and Project Lemonade are both in need of clothes and backpacks for the start of the school year.

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