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Providing hope, support and love to children in need

RCSA is excited to announce a series of face-to-face networking events in New Zealand this month to celebrate the end of 2020.

Foster Hope Charitable Trust founder and chairperson Louise Burnie will be guest speaker at the Gather in Auckland event on Wednesday, November 11.

There are more than 6000 children in foster care in New Zealand and Foster Hope believes every child deserves to know their community cares about them.

Louise will talk about how the charity has grown from its early days in 2010 to now having eight branches of volunteers throughout New Zealand.

Attendees of the November 11 event are invited to support Foster Hope's Christmas Gift Drive by bringing along a gift for a vulnerable child.

Here Louise shares with us a little bit more about the charity.

How did Foster Hope Charitable Trust come about?

I was involved with another charity which I set up called Beanies for Africa when I was approached by Sam, a short-term foster mum to help her collect second-hand teddy bears for children in care. We had a huge response and decided to set up a formal charity shortly afterwards.

What’s the mission of Foster Hope Charitable Trust?

We believe every child in foster care deserves to know that their community cares about them. We demonstrate this by providing them with a backpack of essential items. The backpacks are a symbol of our support and love for both the children and their caregivers. Many of these children arrive at their new placements with little more than the clothes on their backs. Our backpacks bring a little hope into what is a very stressful time in their lives.

What are your main sources of funds and resources?

Product and cash donations from local businesses and the public as well as local grants which we apply for.

What are some of the initiatives of Foster Hope?

As well as the backpacks filled with essential items, we also run a pyjama drive in winter and a Christmas gift drive at the end of the year. Plus, we supply flat packs for teenagers leaving foster care.

How may backpacks have been distributed so far this year?

Over the past year our eight volunteer-run branches across New Zealand have distributed more than 4800 backpacks and more than 9500 pyjamas.

How do the backpacks get distributed?

In Auckland we send all our packs to Blue Star and they distribute them to Oranga Tamariki and other non-government organisations around the Auckland and Waikato region when the social workers order them. Our eight branches mostly supply the packs directly to Oranga Tamariki and NGOs.

Do you ever get feedback from the children?

Sometimes we hear from the social workers, more often in the regions where there is a closer relationship between the branches and the local social workers. We know the teens love the custom-designed journals which are included in the older packs.

How can people help support the work of Foster Hope Charitable Trust?

By telling people about us and following our local Facebook pages as we will post on there when we have specific requirements. The pyjama drive is an easy project to get behind as we need all sizes from newborn to 2XL to cover all the children in foster care.

For more information about Foster Hope’s Christmas Gift Drive, click here.

For tickets to RCSA’s Gather in Auckland event, click here.

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