AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a scene many foster parents experience: a child in need coming to their home, often with just the clothes on their backs. It’s what Kristin Finan, an emergency foster parent, has seen too often.
“You’re having children arrive to the doorstep with absolutely nothing, and we just thought ‘What kind of start is that to come to a new home and have nothing to their name?'” Finan said. “And we wanted to try to change that.”
So she and Rachel Garza, also a foster parent, teamed up to create Carrying Hope, a non-profit that helps the more than 17,000 children Child Protective Services removes from homes each year in Texas. It all started with an idea.
“A really cute, fun backpack; a stuffed animal for comfort; things they might need — pajamas, clothes that they might not have — anything they might need for the first 48 hours,” Garza explained, opening up a colorful bag. Carrying Hope began with a goal of filling 20 backpacks back in July 2016. Instead, they collected enough for 130. Since then, they’ve provided more than 2,000 bags to the Department of Public Safety and foster care agencies in Texas. Each one is tailored to a certain age group — so babies get the diapers they need, and older children get clothes that fit.
Carrying Hope is also trying something new this year: it’s first-ever Fostering Hope Gala to raise money for the organization. The catered auction event is Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Gather Venue at 411 W. Monroe St. Tickets cost $100 and can be bought online.