Christmas is a magical time, especially for children as they put out cookies for Santa and open gifts. However, many kids just want a loving home and some essentials.
For the past 10 years, Spreading Threads Clothing Bank has been providing free clothes and toys to foster children in Tucson. The nonprofit was previously run from homes and other businesses, but just a few weeks ago, it moved into its first storefront in midtown.
“We take monetary donations, which we desperately need because we had to start from scratch with all of our hangers and fixtures and such,” said Michele Wright, the clothing bank’s executive director and co-founder.
The opening of the clothing bank came at the perfect time for Melanie and Mark. The two started fostering children this summer. With just a few hours’ notice on Friday, Dec. 6, they welcomed a 5-year-old girl into their home.
“Close to midnight is when she arrived,” Melanie said. “She had just the clothes on her back, shoes … not even a jacket.”
So, on Sunday, Dec. 8, Mark and Melanie visited Spreading Threads to pick up some clothes for their young guest.
Mea Fajardo helps find homes for kids through Grace Retreat Foster Care and Adoption Services, and says situations like this happen daily.
“Most kids when they come into care, it’s an emergency situation,” Fajardo said. “They literally have nothing. Just on Friday alone, we had about 10 kids that came into care.”
“None of this is their fault and none of this is their choice,” Mark said.
Mark says, at the very least, foster children should be able to choose what they wear.
According to Fajardo, the state clothing allowance is $150 a year per foster child.
“Think about a teenager versus like a 5-year-old,” Wright said. “That’s like maybe one pair of jeans and maybe a pair of shoes. That’s it.”
As her grassroots nonprofit continues to grow, Wright hopes so will their reach. She plans to ensure every foster child is treated with dignity and is not embarrassed by their attire.
“Think of those kids on Christmas,” she said. “Pray for them, think of them. Ask yourself ‘What can I do to help?’”