Eckerd Community Alternatives operates one of the largest foster care programs in the Tampa Bay area. They maintain the Eckerd Raising Hope Rooms of Hope where children entering the foster care system can go to find new clothing, blankets, toiletries and other basic items.
Imagine a 6 year old girl who has been removed from her family home due to neglect or abuse. She is dirty, hungry, scared and confused. She is brought to an office full of strangers. She has nothing but the clothes on her back. Soon one of the strangers will take her to a new home, and tomorrow she will go to a new school. What will she wear? A pleasant person calls her by name and says hello. She leads her to the Eckerd Room of Hope. Hesitantly she walks into a bright, well organized room with clothing of all sizes and styles. For the first time in her life she is able to pick out her own wardrobe; shoes, underwear, school clothes and pajamas. She finds a brand new dress, some shorts and tops. “I can have these?” she timidly asks. “of course”, comes the reply. No worrying about the cost; everything in the Room of Hope is free, including the best wishes of the friendly strangers. As she moves from aisle to aisle she starts to blossom with hope and pride. There will be more scary moments ahead, but the new clothes has also given this 6 year old a reason to smile.
During the month of December FMC Foundation of Caring collected a week’s worth of clothing for over 90 foster children. The clothing will be used to stock the closest at the Pasco & Hillsborough County Rooms of Hope.
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