Exhausted from a fun day of back-to-school shopping at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont with two of her foster sons, Carmen Holt stopped looking through the superhero shirts and jeans that filled their cart to see what was on the mind of her oldest foster son.
He stood in the jewelry section, mesmerized by a watch covered with images from his favorite movie. With a sigh, he placed it back on the counter, knowing he was only there for school clothes and not a Star Wars watch.
But Carolina Clark, JCPenney manager, didn't miss a beat.
Expanding the impact of the grant
Inspired by the spirit of the generous day made possible by an annual grant from the Beaumont Foundation of America (BFA) to Buckner Foster Care and Adoption, Clark called the younger brother over and told both to pick out any watch they wanted as a gift.
“I was definitely happy to help,” Clark said. “Hopefully this will relieve some of the stress and help them get what they need.”
Heading back to school in style with the Beaumont Foundation of America
Thanks to the $77,100 grant from BFA, the two school-aged siblings who are in foster care alongside their younger brother, were able to prepare for back to school by shopping for clothing and shoes at JCPenney.
This year, Beaumont Foundation’s gift went even further with the generous spirit of JCPenney. JCPenney in Beaumont gave an additional $200 for each child in the Holts’ care. The store also waived the taxes off the final bill.
The Beaumont Foundation of America (BFA) has faithfully served Texas children in foster care through grants to Buckner Foster Care and Adoption for 17 years, bringing their total contribution over the years to more than $2.1 million.
Hundreds of foster care families receive the benefits of the grant from BFA across Texas. Buckner uses these funds to purchase clothing for children going back to school. More than 300 foster care children will have the opportunity to get new clothes.
In celebration of the continued support from the foundation, Buckner organized a shopping trip for the Holt family. Donald and Carmen Holt currently foster three siblings who have been with them since February.
“They’re very loving and they need a good, safe home,” Carmen said. “We want to make sure they know they are loved here.”
“I’ve been interested in [fostering] since I was a teenager. I had a friend who was in foster care with Buckner, and I’ve just always had a passion for it,” she added.
The foster children in care experience love, care and commitment from Donald and Carmen. But for Donald and Carmen, the support from the Buckner staff helps keep them going.
“They’re awesome people, very instructional,” Carmen said. “If I have questions or concerns, they’re always on top of it.”
Rhonda Robichau, Buckner senior events and recruitment manager in Beaumont recognizes that one of the challenges with foster care is finding families willing to take siblings together. She’s grateful for families like the Holts willing to open their home to sibling groups.
“Some of our greatest needs are for families willing to take care of sibling groups, older youth and teens and children with therapeutic needs – whether that’s medical needs or just needing more attention,” Robichau said.
Celebrating a longtime collaboration
The longtime relationship between Buckner and the Beaumont Foundation has blessed many children, even beyond Southeast Texas. Through the gift of clothing and a back-to-school shopping experience, these children were reminded that they are valued and supported.
With nearly 30,000 children in foster care in Texas, there is always a growing need for necessities like clothing, school supplies and more. We’re thankful for the Beaumont Foundation’s commitment to supporting those children for almost two decades.