David and Sydney Rieff simply wanted to help. They felt a tug on their heart to support the foster care system in Amarillo, but they didn’t know where to begin. What started as simple gestures to support Buckner programs turned into a larger faith-based entity seeking to assist those impacted by the foster care system.
Fostering Hope, born out of the Rieffs’ desire to answer the call in any way they could, provides for displaced children; encourages and sustains foster families; supports and reassures those who have aged out of the foster care system; and supports foster and adoption agency staff.
What started as gathering a few clothes for emergency placements has grown into 10 different rooms offering everything a family could need. Their first priority is for both children and young adults to have food and a safe place to live, then they look to encourage the adoptive and foster families, and lastly, support agencies and staff.
Now with more than 80 volunteers on their team, Fostering Hope works with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services portal as well as local agencies, including Buckner, to answer each need that arises. They receive requests from case managers to biological families just searching for a way to hold it all together – whether they are needing help keeping their children or reuniting with them in their home.
“Typically, if someone calls for something, we will always see if there’s a way to make it happen,” David shared.
The team also provides support to youth who have aged out of the foster care system. Every semester, they collect, fill and deliver care boxes for college students, as well as provide food and support for the Buckner Amarillo Transitional Home classes and seasonal parties.
“What they do is not just for Buckner – they’re serving all foster families throughout Amarillo as needs come up,” said Becky Robertson, Buckner ministry engagement coordinator for West Texas. “We just happen to be a big piece. They really go above and beyond for our families.”
Sydney is quick to acknowledge the amount of support they receive from their church, First Baptist Church Amarillo, and encourages others to work with their church to impact foster care and adoption needs.
“We all know that there are needs out there and the church is called to stand up and address those,” she said.
The large impact Fostering Hope is making throughout Amarillo is possible because of their determination to learn about the needs and the avenues of support. They have also worked to create strong connections between volunteerism and agencies – making it simpler to get involved and to fit the right solution to the right need.