Foster Parents and Relative Caregivers Prioritized at Back-to-School Supply Drives

Family Services offers aid to more than 700 foster parents and relative caregivers through two community events.

More than 25,000 people lined up to receive free school supplies at this year’s Back to School Bash at the Amway Arena on August 14, but Central Florida foster parents and relative care givers were given an upper hand in the wait. Family Services of Metro Orlando partnered with event host Hope Now International to mail over 700 fast passes to our foster parents and relative care givers. If presented on the day of the event, these special passes would allow them to pass the long line and receive these services at a priority rate.

In total, the free event provided nearly 10,000 school-aged children with backpacks and even more with school supplies, immunization shots and hair cuts. Adults were also able to receive help filing for benefits, community resource guides and health screenings.

“We know how hard our foster parents and relative caregivers work to give our foster children a sense of stability and normalcy in their educational routines, so we were extremely pleased to be able to offer them additional access to these free resources on behalf of our partners,” said Greg Kurth, CEO of Family Services of Metro Orlando.

Earlier in the month, Family Services of Metro Orlando also helped Osceola County foster parents prepare for the start of the new school year by partnering with the Belk location at the Loop West in Kissimmee through the Belk Director of Community Relations, Janira Gomez. On August 7, community members were invited to the store to donate supplies to benefit Family Services Osceola foster youth. In turn, they received 20 to 40% off regular and sale merchandise. Health care professionals from Osceola Regional Medical Center were on hand to help with back to school preparedness and distributed free first aid kits to those in attendance. Other community partners for the drive included Publix Sabor, the Hispanic Business Council of Kissimmee/Osceola, Enlaces and Fairwinds Credit Union. Event music was provided by Errol Richards of Dance Time Productions and local teen pop-performer Catherine, who put on an in-store show for those in attendance.

The following week, foster families were invited to the store for a school supply pick-up event. While health care professionals provided free screenings, nearly 40 foster youth were provided with free school supplies they needed to start the school year.

“Each time we do an event for our Osceola County foster families, our partners in Osceola impress us with their level of concern for our foster children,” said Victor Salgado, Foster Parent Liaison for Family Services. “This event was a real chance for us to take some stress off of our foster families by helping them get their children off to a good start in school and I am glad we were able to run with this opportunity.”

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