Lasting Impact: How Helping One Family Changed a Community

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Lasting Impact: How Helping One Family Changed a Community

To end the child welfare crisis in America, we need to have a lasting impact and affect permanent change. We at For Others and our partners avoid putting a band-aid on the symptoms and address the roots of the problem. One of the most important ways to achieve this is to prevent children from entering the foster care system. Keeping children out of care preserves families, reduces strain on government resources, and keeps children from experiencing a traumatic removal.

Our partner, CarePortal, makes it easy for families to connect with local churches and organizations in their time of need. School districts can also use CarePortal’s platform to ask for assistance on behalf of their students.

Dr. Pamela Shay from the Springfield City School District says they’ve been using CarePortal for 3 years. The district is located in an urban setting with a high rate of crime, broken families, and an immigrant population that’s growing exponentially. Over 90% of the district’s 7,500 students live below the poverty level. All of their students qualify for free lunch programs. However, the Springfield City School District has one major advantage: a strongly connected church community. Dr. Shay shares a real story about the lasting impact a community can achieve when we come together to help our neighbors.

The First Request

The Springfield City School District became aware of a single mother with two small children short on food and clothing. While the school was able to support the family to some degree, they needed extra help. The school district submitted a CarePortal request to gain further assistance and make a community connection for this struggling family.

Within just a few hours, a local church picked up the request. The church’s point person obtained the requested supplies (and a few extras) and went to the apartment complex to deliver. The complex consists of about 750 units, all low-income, and the area is known as one of the rougher communities in town.

While delivering items, the church liaison learned from the mother that the apartment complex was under new management, and they planned to invest a lot of money to renovate the apartments. They were also trying to remove some of the more dangerous residents to make it a safer place. When she saw several kids running outside and enjoying the sunshine, the church responder asked the mother what the community needed.

The mother listed two things: something for the kids to do and cleaning the area of the trash that blows around all the time.

The Lasting Impact

The church point person went to work. She met with the complex manager and asked if the church could assist. The manager was very receptive, explaining that churches used to be involved, but it had been many years since any interaction. 

The manager said, “You come up with a plan of what you want to do, run it by me, and I will support you in any way I can.” 

Within 2 weeks, a clean-up day was scheduled. Members of the church members arrived to assist, and after some encouragement, the residents participated, as well.

Later, at a CarePortal active community meeting, the story of this apartment complex was shared. The audience felt moved by the success. As a result, a conversation and partnership discussions began. They discussed the broken-down playground where the children played. A CarePortal community champion, Habitat for Humanity, shared that they had just received a shipment of wooden swing sets valued at $1,000 each. With a new program and grant, the cost of the swing set dropped to $70.

Ideas on how the local churches could work together to serve this community started flowing. Some churches immediately offered to pay for the new swing set. They also suggested hosting a build day for delivery and assembling. In the end, the apartment complex received the brand-new swing set and created a beautiful relationship with a church that cared for them.

A simple request to provide nourishment and clothing to a family of three grew into God’s provision for serving a community of over 1,000 people. When you give to For Others, you support CarePortal needs just like this one, with the power to change lives and make waves throughout whole towns and neighborhoods. Give today to help us reach even more kids and families.

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