Jesus Loves the Little Children
How the Foster Care Closet Helps Local Families
Photos by Kathleen Rodgers
“Then children were brought to Him so He might put His hands on them and pray. But the disciples rebuked them. Then Jesus said, ‘Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.’ After putting His hands on them, He went on from there.” Matthew 19:13-15
There is definitely a reason why the children’s song “Jesus Loves the Little Children” is so popular. It’s not just because it is a song for children, nor is it because the words and tune are simple. It is because it is full of truth. Jesus never shied away from ministering to children. In this Bible passage from Matthew, Jesus had been teaching. When He was done, people began to bring their children to Him. The disciples saw this as a disturbance, but Jesus did not. He knew that children have value in the Kingdom of God. They are important to God and are not to be turned away. Jesus truly loves all the little children of the world. Sadly, many children today do not experience this kind of love and care from their earthly caregivers. This can sometimes lead to them being placed in foster homes.
According to the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services website, there are currently approximately 5,000 children in foster care across the state. Children are placed in foster care when their current home situation is no longer stable or safe. There may have been abuse, neglect, or an inability by the parent or guardian to care for the child. These children need safe and stable homes that can give them the care they need.
Susan Heath, Myra Keasler, Kathy Montgomery, JoAnn Thomas, and Lisa Vaughan, ladies who meet together as a D/Group, were praying for God to lead them to a mission project. They had no idea what He would be up to. These ladies attended a Foster Care Support meeting that the church has periodically. They thought that there might be an opportunity to serve while there. This is where they chatted with Nathan Taylor. Susan says that after a few discussions with him, a need was identified and the Foster Care Closet was up and running.
These ladies meet once a month to sort, hang clothes, and organize the donations that the closet receives. They also open the Care Closet some nights for the Foster Care meetings at the church. The families then have the opportunity to come in and “shop” for the needs of the children they are fostering.
The Foster Care Closet is meant to serve the foster families across our community. Many times, when a family receives a foster child, it is a very quick process. It could be midnight and the child could come to them with nothing but the clothes they have on. Many families are not prepared with the basics. So the Foster Care Closet helps them by providing a place where they can come and pick up any items they may need, at no cost. Nathan says that as First Baptist became more involved in foster care ministry and with these families, they saw a need. These families needed help accessing basic resources quickly and conveniently.
Here at First Baptist and in our Starkville community, we have many families who have taken the step to become foster families. Several of these families have taken advantage of the Foster Care Closet. Here are some of their testimonials:
“The Foster Care Closet at FBC has been such a blessing for our family. We’ve had the privilege of utilizing it on numerous occasions with our placements. It has been a blessing in a time of need. The FBC team are all very helpful, patient, and kind. They’re always willing to help in any way possible. Thank you for offering this service to families in a time of need.”
– Sarah Scott
“We received our call for our first foster placement around 5:30pm on a Friday and he was in our home by 7:00pm that same evening. We had little to no time to prepare for his arrival. First thing Saturday morning, my cousin, Mary Todd Gordon, told me about the Foster Care Closet. That same day a staff member at FBC reached out to us asking if there was a time we wanted to come to the closet to gather any items needed for our foster son. On Sunday afternoon, we went to the Closet and were able to get him a backpack, school supplies, socks, underwear, shirts, shorts, and more. The FBC Foster Care Closet is a ministry that not only meets the immediate needs of foster children in our community, but it also gives an immediate sense of community and support to foster parents.”
– Avent Van Horn
“The Care Closet was so useful to us! We had a six-hour time frame to prepare for our placement. We found many things that were useful to us including clothing, diapers, wipes, and food items.”
– Christy Richard
Susan says that the church has been very faithful and supportive of the closet. Donations are frequent, but they always need more. If you are interested in donating, there are donation boxes set up across the church. Not sure what to donate? Here is a list of ideas:
Diapers of All Sizes
Clothing of All Sizes
School Uniforms (Starkville Oktibbeha School District)
Pack and Plays
If you are interested in contributing or helping with the closet, please contact Nathan Taylor at the church (email@example.com). If you are interested in becoming a foster family, visit www.mdcps.ms.gov for more information.