Family opens a free clothing store for foster kids after realizing they own virtually nothing
When most people think about foster children they lament the fact that they have no parents. When, in most cases, the problem is much worse, they have nothing. No friends. No family. No belongings.
When the police remove a child from an abusive home, the child’s things aren’t the biggest priority. In other cases, a caseworker shows up at a child’s home for removal and they only have a few minutes to grab a few things—whatever fits in a plastic bag.
Linda Durrence, 51, from Glennville, Georgia wants the foster children in her community to have something for themselves.
In December 2016, she and her husband lost their 27-year-old daughter in a car accident. After their tragic loss, the Durrences and their two remaining daughters began attending a church in Glennville. The daughters soon became friends with three girls that were being fostered by another family at the church.
However, in 2018, the sisters were set to be moved to separate foster homes.
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The oldest of the three sisters turned 18 and left the foster care system, so the Durrences took in the two younger daughters to watch over them until they could be reunited with their grandparents in Florida. After getting settled in their new home, the sisters begged the Durrences to stay with them because they were tired of moving around. In 2019, the Durrrences adopted the two girls.
As the sisters settled into the Durrences home, Linda couldn’t get over the image of them coming to her doorstep carrying nothing but trash bags.
“The first thing that broke my heart was that they came with a trash bag that wasn’t even halfway full with clothes that didn’t fit them,” Durrence told Fox 5 Atlanta. “They had one hairbrush. They did each have a toothbrush, but they only had like a trial size thing of toothpaste. They had no shampoo, no conditioner, no nothing.”
“It just kept staying on my mind,” she said, noting that her family was “financially blessed” to give them what they need. However, she wondered about other families and their foster children.
“What about the families that can’t go out and buy them what they need?” Durrence said. “Just the bare minimum, the necessities.”
Durrence had been thinking about opening a store for children in need for quite some time and eventually bought up a storefront at a small shopping mall. The store runs on donations and allows fostered, adopted or less fortunate children to shop for free.
Shoppers can make an appointment and if the store has clothes their size, they can get up to seven free sets of clothes and shoes every quarter. They can come by the store more often if they have a major change in size.
Durrence says she named the store after her two adopted daughters.
“We watched them blossom and that’s where the name came from,” Durrence said. “And what our hope is, is with Blossom, that it goes far beyond just kids coming to get clothes.” She hopes to add an education center to the store to help foster kids keep up with their educational goals and services for parents to help them raise their families.
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