Help Foster Children in Group Homes ~ Here’s How!
You can help foster children in group homes. These kids are often forgotten.
They come come from abusive homes. But when they are removed from birth families they lose contact with the good in their lives, as well as the bad.
Kids are thrown into a whole new world.
- School is different. Teachers are different.
- Familiar faces (including a much-loved dog, cat or other pet) are gone.
- Foster children in a group home don’t just have to adapt to a new family. They have to adapt to 10 – 40 other foster kids. Plus staff.
- They often have little or nothing that belongs to just them. Everything around them must be shared with all the other children.
So what exactly can be done to help foster children in a group home?
There are plenty of amazing things you can do to help.
For instance, group homes often take children on field trips to help them have a normal life. They take them out to eat, to the movies, or to the beach. They do different things at each foster home.
Contact your local group home and find out what kind of donation could help them most. Your donation (big or small) can help these places do more for the children in their care.
Here’s a list of suggestions for anyone who would like to help foster children in group homes.
1. Gift Cards
Gift cards to places like Walmart, local grocery stores, gas stations, and mall clothing stores are ideal.
Group homes go through a lot of gas taking children to different appointments and outings.
If you or someone you are or know someone who manages or owns a gas station, consider donating a full tank of gas each month.
2. Movie Tickets
Foster children want to be like any other children. They need outings to maintain positive mental health.
Going to the movies is a great way to feel like all the other kids. Some of my best memories when I was in one group home were our trips to the theater. It let me feel normal for a day.
Bowling and skate ring passes are also a good thing to give. This lets the kids be kids!
So next time you visit your local skate rink or bowling alley consider asking them if they would like to help foster children in group homes by offering passes or a discount.
Some of the most expensive costs in group homes is keeping the home maintained. With all those children, things break, wear out, or just get outdated.
If you own a construction or remodeling company, and are licensed, you can help them take care of the property.
Anyone who wants to help with the costs of maintaining or remodelling a group home can donate cash specifying you want to assist in upkeep of the home.
4. Yard Work
Most of the group homes I was in had large yards. Those yards require lots of maintaining. Landscaping and lawn mowing could be a big help for them.
If you are willing to mow their grass or pay for someone else to do it you can help save them the high costs of yard work.
Or perhaps you’d like to donate play equipment, or some fruit trees for the yard.
Offer to sponsor a child for their birthday. Be the person who buys a foster child’s birthday gifts. Birthdays are often over looked when in foster care.
So help foster children in group homes by making sure their birthday is amazing!
6. New Child Arrival Packages
Many times when a child first arrives in a group home they have little to nothing. You could create little boxes or backpacks with a book or two, journal, pens, pencils, markers, and a small gift card to a clothing store.
Try to think of small simple items that could make a child happy. This is such a wonderful way to help foster children in group homes feel like they are still important and cared about. It’s something nice to make up for the fact they are placed in a group home instead of a regular family home.
7. Food to Help Foster Children in Group Homes
The most requested food products group homes request are things like children’s snacks. Such as juice boxes, goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, pretzels, and cookies. Frozen pizza and condiments are also high on the request lists.
But I like to think anyone with an abundant fruit and vegetable garden might put their hand up to help foster children in group homes in their local region. Even better, why not invite the home to bring the children around to help pick fresh fruit and vegetables at harvest time?
8. Beach Parking Passes
If the group home is located near a coast, there’s a good chance they take the children to the beach during the summer. (If they don’t, they should!)
Parking can be a large cost. If you know of a parking lot that will let you buy a yearly pass this would be a great donation.
9. Cleaning Supplies
Do you have children? If you do, you know how messy they can be. Now imagine 20 kids living in one home! Wow! That will be a lot of messes.
So things like disinfecting wipes, paper towels, tissues, bleach, dish soap, hand sanitizer, scrubbing brushes, shower cleaner, oven cleaner, toilet wands, and other cleaning supplies are important constant needs.
10. Hygiene Products
Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap, acne facewash, tampons, pads, deodorant, razors, and lotion are needed at every group home.
If you shop at a wholesale warehouse, or see a good deal for any of these things at your local supermarket, please grab some extras. Drop them off at your local group home for foster children on your way home.
11. Art Supplies
Art is a wonderful thing for all children, but for foster children art can be an outlet for many issues. Art supplies are a wonderful cheap donation item. Any dollar store is filled with many art supplies.
You can’t go wrong with crayons, notebooks, washable markers, colored chalk, construction paper, children scissors, glue, glue guns, and paint!
12. Video Games
Most group homes have some sort of game system. After all they have to have something to pass the hours. Video games rated for children are a good donation.
It is a good idea to check what kind of games consoles your local group home owns.
If you are upgrading to a new gaming system, why not donate your old console and games, to help foster children in group homes have a little more fun?
Batteries are an often forgotten item. Batteries operate many children’s toys. This is a great thing to put on your donation list.
14. Infant Care Items
Diapers, wiped, baby lotion, baby wash, diaper rash cream, and formula are much needed donations at group homes that take in infants.
15. Suit Cases or Backpacks
As I have said many times, children coming into foster care often have little to nothing. Having their own suit case or backpack to carry their own personal items is important. It feels horrible carrying around your only belongings in a trash bag.
So donate your gently used luggage or back packs.
16. Children’s Movies
Movie night is pretty regular in group homes. So finding PG and G rated movies to donate are a wonderful idea.
Consider picking movies that are family and child friendly. There may be some older teenagers in your local group home, but talk to management first. Would they like action movies?
Gently used or new junior and children sizes are great. Usually when children enter foster care most of their clothing is left behind. So having clothes to pick from is important.
One group home I was in had a clothing room where they had neatly sorted donated items and each child got to pick items when they first got there.
While something is better than nothing, name brand clothing may help a child feel like they fit in with other children their age better. Shoes are important too.
So if your child outgrows their gently worn clothing, consider donating to help foster children in group homes have clothes to choose from when they arrive.
18. School Supplies
Many group homes home-school the foster children. This means they are responsible for providing all of the school supplies for these children.
Consider donating school supplies such as pencils, pencil sharpeners, 3 ring binders, composition and spiral notebooks, loose leaf paper, and pencil pouches.
If your own children (or grandchildren) insist on new supplies every year, what happens to their old ones? If there’s still lots of life left in their cast-offs, please donate them to help foster children in group homes.
19. Auto Repairs
Maintaining the average vehicle is a high cost already. Now factor in driving 20 or more children to each of their doctor’s appointments each month. The costs can add up quickly!
Do you own or know someone who owns a repair shop? Consider donating some repairs or an oil change. By helping with these costs the group home can spend more money to help foster children in group homes in other ways. Instead of having to spend that money on vehicle repairs.
You don’t have to own one of these places to gift these items either. You can easily donate the amount it would cost or talk to a mechanic yourself and work something out.
20. Stamps and Envelopes
For foster children lucky enough to still have some family to talk to, they can usually write home to them.
A stamp is cheap right? Just .49 here in the USA. Not much of a cost. However multiply that one stamp by possibly 20 children a week and you are looking at a cost of $10 a week or $40 a month just in stamps. On top of that another $5-$10 for envelopes each month.
So consider donating a book of stamps to help foster children in group homes reach out to the family they have left!
What You Can’t Donate to Help Foster Children in Group Homes
In the United States of America there are some safety regulations when it comes to donating items.
You can donate the following items new. But used items from this list cannot be used.
- Stuffed animals
- Toddler beds
- Pack n plays
- High chairs
- Booster seats
- Bath seats
- Car seats
- Infant carriers
- Bouncing seats
‘Wish List’ to Help Foster Children in Group Homes
As you can see, there are many ways you can help foster children in group homes.
Consider contacting your local children’s group home. They usually have ‘Wish Lists’ that they place on their websites, along with cash donation links. A friendly voice on the phone (or in person) should be able to answer all your questions.
If you are in the USA and are unable to locate a group home in your area, feel free to comment below (with your location). I will do my best to help you find your local group home.
Do you live outside the US? Lucky we have authors (and readers) on this site from other parts of the world.
Just ask us for advice if you’d like to help foster children in group homes in your region. We’re here to help in any way we can!