Fostering Hope is a mission to provide comfort, hope, and love to young children entering the Foster Care system. It was started by Rachel Cooke, our former Elkhorn Hills UMC Children’s Ministries Director, as a result of her experiences as a foster parent. (See Omaha World Herald article about Rachel Cooke’s Fostering Hope mission.)
When children are removed from homes deemed to be an unsafe environment, they spend about three hours in a caseworker’s office until an emergency foster placement is located. They are away from home with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. They are scared and confused. They may be angry or feel hopeless.
Our mission is to give some comfort to these children. Rachel has been a foster/adoptive parent for 25 years in both Kansas and Nebraska and she has seen firsthand what a gesture of hope can do for a frightened child. Children are our future. If we can make a difference in a child’s life, then our lives take on extra meaning.
Through the “Fostering Hope” program, items are collected and placed in “hope” bags. These “Hope Bags” are given to the Nebraska Families Collaborative (NFC) to distribute to children between the ages of 3 and 8 years old during that first encounter at the caseworker’s office. The bags are presented to children in an effort to provide them with a sense of comfort, hope, and love.
Since 2013, participants in our VBS program decorate bags and then fill them with fleece blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, nightlights, goldfish crackers, a small toy or book, and a handmade teddy bear.
Our Youth Group has also completed these special bags during their Winter Retreats.
The Knit & Sew group cut and sewed the bears.
This is an ongoing mission at EHUMC, and we are always in need of donations to continue to support this ministry.