Cleaning out your closet? StepStone accepts clothes, luggage for foster children

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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As the holidays wind down, many people may be cleaning out their closets or rooms to make room for all the new clothes and other gifts they received. This may lead many to box up their unwanted items to send to donation centers, but there is another option to send these items.

StepStone Family and Youth Services, a foster care and adoption service that opened its Region 4 location in LaGrange earlier this year, accept items such as gently used toys, clothes and even luggage or other bags for the children it assists.

Christina Bach, the Georgia regional foster care director, said the number of items or the kinds of items they are able to take in depends on the number of children and families they are assisting at one time. Depending on the situation a foster child or children are in, some items may be needed compared to others. Hygiene items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes and bags to carry the items in are constantly needed.

“It depends on what’s going on at the moment in terms of if we have an overflow [of foster children,]” Bach said. “We’re getting low on items such as [hygiene backpacks] so now is the best time to donate any gently used backpack or luggage items or cases.”

Bach previously stated that there are as many as 13,000 children in need of foster care services at any given time in Georgia, and 40 to 50% of those children are in need of adoptive placements. Families who can take in sibling groups are particularly dire, she said.

“We have a lot of new kids coming in for care,” she said.  “December was one of the highest [intake] months I’ve seen in all of 2021. We’re still opening homes and placing kids, and we’re still in desperate need of foster parents because we have to turn away dozens of referrals a week.”

Those who want to donate items or who may want to inquire about the process of becoming a foster parent can visit StepStone’s LaGrange location at 325 Greenville St. The location operates from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekly.

“Our office is now fully staffed … they may have to come upstairs [in our building] to get somebody or they can leave donations [outside],” Bach said.

Call StepStone at (706) 596-1550 to talk to a staff member or to set up a donation drop-off time.

LaGrange’s location is StepStone’s fifth location in Georgia.