PITTSBURGH — A foster child’s first night in a new home can be a scary experience with nothing to call their own. One Pittsburgh foster mother is trying to make that first night a bit easier and a less of a shock for those children.
"Our first three kids just showed up with nothing, and our first desire as we were tucking them into bed was to give them something that would be their own - a stuffed animal, a blanket,” said Kelly Hughes.
Kelly and Andrew Hughes have fostered seven children. In addition to their two biological children, they currently have two foster children living with them.
Kelly Hughes said sometimes there’s little notice before a foster child shows up at her front door.
"A lot of time they come in clothing that's really dirty or it's too small, so in these bags is a fresh pair of pajamas that will hopefully be the right size," she said.
To make that frightening first night a bit easier on the child, Kelly Hughes started the Foster Love Project, which is a holiday drive to make these care packages for foster children. So far, more than 800 people have signed up to participate.
"I think a lot of them just had no idea that kids just get pulled out with nothing or just the trash bag signifies that these kids are disposable and not important,” said Kelly Hughes.
Kelly hopes the bags will comfort a child who's just been ripped from the only environment he or she knew.
Her husband hopes this also raises awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families.
“You don't have to be a superman or a superwoman to be a foster parent or an adoptive parent. You just do your normal routine and let kids come in and share in that life,” said Andrew Hughes.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Foster Love Project can do so by visiting any of these eight drop-off locations in the Pittsburgh area by Dec. 31:
- ESSpa Kozmetika - 17 Brilliant Ave., Aspinwall, Pa. - 412- 782-3888
- Three Rivers Grace Church (By appointment only) - 1028 Chartiers Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. - 412- 450-0733
- The Bair Foundation - 3755 Library Rd. Suite 3, Pittsburgh, Pa. - 412-341-6850
- Ridgewood Church - 131 Ridgewood Ave., West View, Pa. - 412-931-1313
- Subway - 20510 Rt. 19 Cranberry Twp., Pa. - 412-585-0942
- Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library - 5401 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. - 412-682-4430 *Little
- House Big Art - 938 Haslage Ave. Pittsburgh, Pa. - 412-444-5278
- Murrysville Presbyterian Church Preschool - 3202 North Hills Rd. Murrysville, Pa. – 412-779-7433 -- Those donating at this site are asked to pull behind the preschool - to the left and leave donations inside the entry doors under the steps.