BANDON — Bandon Rotary and the Bandon First Presbyterian Church are hoping to make a difference in a few local children's lives. Rotary has donated $1,000 and Bandon First Presbyterian has donated $500 to help meet the needs of foster children and foster families in the Bandon area.
One of Bandon Rotary's focus areas is children and the club has been raising money and donating funds to the Kids' HOPE Center for a few years. This time, Rotary collaborated with Bandon First Presbyterian to help local foster families through Every Child Coos County. The two checks were recently presented to Melissa Hart, CEO of Every Child, and Salena Minkler, Bandon representative for Every Child.
"By our two groups pooling our financial contributions and our people, we hope to help foster families and children in Bandon," said Mary Carol Roberson, who helped organize the effort. "This was a great kickoff of two groups working together to meet their needs and to make a lasting impact for kids in foster care. It's a wonderful opportunity and we look forward to working together."
Last year, nearly 400 children spent time in foster care in Coos County. Some 66% spent time in more than one foster home. Many were split from their siblings.
"If a natural disaster hit our state and children were wandering the street without someone to care for them, each of us would open our homes to help in the crisis," said Melissa Hart, program manager for Every Child Coos County, a program of United Way of Southerwestern Oregon. "With more than 130 children currently in foster care and more entering the system every day, we're in the midst of a disaster in our county."
Oregon’s Department of Human Services works hard to care for children and families in crisis, but is often left with few resources for volunteer and foster parent recruitment efforts.
"If we don’t step in, many children will be left without the care, comfort and safety of a loving home during times of trauma, transition, and uncertainty," Hart said. "We can do better for Coos County's children. We know that our community wants to take action, but they just don’t know where to begin. Many of us feel helpless, doing nothing or never considering foster parenting."
"Every Child Coos is so grateful for this new partnership with Bandon Rotary and Bandon First Presbyterian Church," Hart added. "These funds will be used to provide tangible support to families in Bandon who are caring for children in the foster care system. We are thrilled to see the Bandon community showing up for those in their own community who need some extra love and support."
Partnering with DHS and community organizations, Every Child works to solve Oregon’s foster care crisis through marketing, education, one-on-one connections and public and private initiatives. Every Child aims to provide love, care and support for vulnerable children and families in Coos County.
For more information about Every Child Coos County, visit everychildcoos.org.