Weekly Feature

2018-10-11 / Front Page

New community closet for foster families opens in Alden


Foster Love Closet has opened its doors at Town Line Lutheran Church, 1159 Town Line Road in Alden.

FLC provides new and gently used clothing, along with other items such as children’s furniture, car seats and strollers.

This service is limited to foster families and is free of charge. Foster parents are advised that they will need to provide a copy of their placement papers.

FLC was founded by Cheryl Flick, Kara Brody and Erin Richeal and is the only type of its kind in Erie County.

“One is a single mom, so she fosters without her own children, and the other two have their own birth children. You clothe your own children all year long, and you take in other children, who typically come with absolutely nothing,” said Flick.

“A friend of mine started something similar to this in Pennsylvania, and I shared it with a couple of my foster mom friends, and we said we need something like this here locally.”

If an individual decides to foster, there is a stipend received depending on the age of the foster child. But that amount is not enough compared to the cost to clothe a child even for a week.

“It’s a dollar to maybe $2.50, maybe $3 a day. So when you’re talking a teenager’s sneakers that cost $100-$150, you can’t buy anything else for them then. Well you do, but it completely comes out of your pocket,” added Flick.

Nationwide, only a very small number of ministries such as this exist. The success of the Alden organization, and how rapidly it developed from an idea to a service in the area, goes to show how needed foster closets are.

“Our first children we got a week after Christmas. We got siblings a week after Christmas, both school-age kids who came with nothing. That was a little eye-opening for us, having just been certified,” said Flick.

“We welcome anyone that fosters to the closet, but it really is helpful for people who just got a placement because then they can get a week’s worth of clothing and if the child leaves in a week, they didn’t just spend $150 at the mall.”

Currently, there is a need for the following items:

•Winter coats and boots in all sizes

•Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving and Christmas-themed clothing

•New diapers, wipes, socks and underwear in any size

•Boys and girls clothing sizes 2T-5T

•Totes with lids

•Crazy coupe cars and ride-on toys, to be painted and customized for a fun spring event

Regular hours of operation are 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Times and days are subject to change based on need.

Placement paperwork and photo ID are needed to use FLC’s services.

In an emergency situation, arrangements to make FLC available can be made by calling 984-7642 (Flick), 491-9646, (Brody) or 382-5285 (Richeal).

FLC is located at 1159 Town Line Road in Alden and operates out of the old Town Line Lutheran nursery school building. The entrance is via the circular driveway on Town Line Road.

Upcoming events include a car seat safety check from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 27, run by the sheriff’s office, at 1159 Town Line Road.

Another holiday event will take place Saturday, Dec. 15, at the church. More details will be available closer to the event.

FLC is on Facebook and Twitter, and their email address is fosterlovecloset@gmail.com. Anyone wishing to volunteer their time, including short term or for community service, please contact FLC. Help is needed with the handling of donated items and staffing during hours of operation.

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