We have all heard the bad news — every day for the last eight months — about the pandemic sweeping the country. Now for something good that’s sweeping the country: CarePortal.
CarePortal represents the upside of the digital world. It connects people who want to help kids with kids who need help.
“It started in the Midwest. A pastor wanted his church to help kids in foster care,” said my friend Meredith Evans, a retired Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.
Evans serves as the CarePortal coordinator for the small church in Northridge that she and husband David belong to.
Social workers provide information to the CarePortal computer system about foster care children in need, and people who signed up for the program — mostly churches and charities — go to the site and purchase items the children need.
According to the CarePortal website:
“After a decade of caring for orphans around the world, The Global Orphan Project (GO Project) created CarePortal in 2015 as a tool to mobilize US churches to care for foster children and vulnerable families in their own backyards.”
We know there are kids in need in our community, but who are they? How do we find out about them and help them? CarePortal makes that connection, Evans said.
Often the requests from social workers are for children placed with their grandparents because their parents are unable to care for them.
“That kinship is so important,” Evans said.
Other times three generations are living together because of the high cost of housing and there is still not enough money, such as the request from a social worker last week for a space heater.
A young mother with four-month-old twins lives with her mother, and the grandmother said she could not afford to run the heat, so their bedroom becomes extremely cold at night.
Evans spotted the request and entered into the system that her church, Congregational Church of Northridge, will buy the space heater and have it shipped by Amazon to the mother.
They will include a $100 gift card to cover the cost of electricity to run the space heater as well.
Another time the church bought a bunk bed so a grandmother didn’t have to continue sleeping on the floor, having given up her own bed to her grandchild.
The child welfare system requires that a foster child have his or her own bed, so the grandmother gave up hers for the child. Now, thanks to the church’s donation, she can keep the child and sleep in her own bed.
“It shows what a little bit of money can do,” Evans said.
Sometimes, with pricier items too expensive for one small church to handle, donors will split the cost.
As Thanksgiving approaches, Meredith Evans says she feels grateful for the opportunity to help children. “It does feel good,” she said, adding that she hopes to spread that joy of giving to many more people.
There are meetings in the works now for Antelope Valley churches to inform them about this great program.
Evans said any church interested should call Rebekah Weigel, CarePortal area director for Southern California, at (818) 631-5782.
William P. Warford’s column appears every Friday and Sunday.