The coronavirus has shut down or slowed down many businesses throughout the United States, but the essential services provided to children in foster care by Arizona Helping Hands have continued on through the storm.
On May 15th, we delivered our 1,020th bed this year to a foster family. Our primary purpose is to provide children in foster care with a safe place to sleep. Especially during these days of COVID-19, we can’t take our foot off the pedal. We must continue to assist children who have been abused and neglected.
Our small but intensely dedicated team has continued our work as the state’s largest provider of essential needs to the foster care community, but it hasn’t been easy. We have modified our processes to increase the safety of our team while serving as many families as we can. Bed pickups have been replaced by bed deliveries; interactive client servicing has been replaced by no contact pickup outside our front door; birthday package assembly previously done by volunteers is now an added job taken on by our staff. Through It all, we continue our work, impacting the lives of hundreds of youth throughout Arizona.
During the days of shelter in place, the routines and the sense of normalcy of families have been torn asunder. Consider all of the additional challenges that children in foster care have thrown their way. They’ve had video conferences with biological parents and caseworkers, in lieu of in-person visitation. Birthday parties are a subdued activity at home, not held with friends at the local pizza parlor. Life has been very different during these days.
That’s why it has been so important for Arizona Helping Hands to continue our work. It’s unthinkable for boys and girls to sleep on air mattresses or foam pads, for birthdays to pass without recognition, and for youngsters not to have educational activities they can do at home during these stressful days.
Our Birthday Dreams program has provided 1,075 children with a personalized gift package already this year. Through it all, we have let these boys and girls know that our community cares about them and wants to celebrate their special day.