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92 Bowery St., NY 10013

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News

May is Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, a time to recognize foster parents, families, volunteers, mentors, and child welfare professionals who provide loving homes and resources to children and youth in foster care.

Did you know that close to 700 children enter the foster care system every day and currently there are more than 440,000 children and youth in foster care in the United States? We encourage you to find a way to get involved in their lives. Below are a few ways you too can support foster children in our community during National Foster Care Awareness month and beyond:

  • Donate for Give STL Day and help send our families to Trout Lodge this summer!
  • Volunteer to make and deliver a meal to a foster family. Give a family a night off from cooking.
  • Host a collection to support foster families. Help us re-stock the Angel Depot for our families.

For more ways to get involved, visit www.angelsarms.org

Uncategorized

Warehouse Name Revealed!

We are thrilled to reveal Marion’s Angel Depot as the official name of our donation and distribution center located in South St. Louis County. We hosted a dedication ceremony on March 12th to recognize Marion Bradford for her steadfast commitment to our organization over the last eighteen years.

Marion, aka Dumpster Diva, Garage Sale Queen, Junking Pro, immersed herself with the organization immediately after our first home was purchased (in 2003). She was the Volunteer and Workday Coordinator Extraordinaire while we tackled the very daunting project of transforming the first Angels’ Arms’ house into a child-friendly, family home. Ever since then, Marion has remained involved by supporting the organization financially and collecting specially-themed items for our auctions, scouring sales and shops for baskets, and spreading the word about our mission. Her commitment and compassion make her one of the best volunteers any organization could dream of.  In March 2021, we honored Marion’s steadfast commitment to our mission by dedicating our donation distribution center in her honor and naming it Marion’s Angel Depot.

“Angels’ Arms captured my heart from the moment I attended their fall event 18 years ago and heard their message, I knew I wanted to be involved with this wonderful organization.  Founder Bess Wilfong projects such warmth and passion for the Angels’ Arms mission and inspires me to this day.  Volunteering with Angels’ Arms allows me to use my passion for “junking” as I scour the county for decor and projects to upcycle for their auction and their foster homes.  I am also proud that Angels’ Arms recognizes and utilizes the unique talents of each volunteer.  The efforts of those who mow lawns, paint rooms, provide family meals, donate boxes of cereal, plan birthday parties, and a thousand other things to support Angels’ Arms is so important.” – Marion

Foster Family

A Day of Sunshine

I was a bit fatigued the day after receiving my 2nd COVID-19 vaccine. But it was a beautiful Saturday in February, and I know I wasn’t feeling nearly as tired or cruddy as one of our house moms who’s in the biggest battle for her life. She has breast cancer, her2 positive, which means it spreads quickly. Her treatment plan includes chemo that goes right through her—many times a day. Needless to say, she’s always tired and feels like the life has been zapped from her. 

Ramona, foster mother, and cancer fighter.

We all know people who battled cancer: some of them fought and lost and some fought and are still here, including me. But this is different. This single foster mom has 7 children living in the home. They’re all learning virtually. As a foster parent, you never know who you’ll get, what behaviors they’ll exhibit, and how long they’ll be with you.

This group of 7 kids is special. They are a family unit. They laugh, argue, clean, eat, and play together. Every single one of them has a happy disposition. Some of them are siblings. But if you didn’t know differently, you would think they’re one group of siblings.

I took all 7 of them to Forest Park Saturday so mom could rest and just have a bit of downtime. What a tremendous blessing this turned out to be. When I arrived at their home, they were waiting by the door. Each one of them had one of the specially-themed denim quilts made just for them in their arms.

Exploring the beauty of Forest Park.

The gratitude they exhibited was completely unexpected. “Thank you for taking us to this really cool park.” “Thank you for setting up this picnic for us.” “Thank you for taking time from your weekend to be with 7 kids.”

We walked in creeks, walked some trails, played Zombie Tag (I was “it” most of the time since I’m a slow runner), but even then, they came to my rescue and allowed me to catch them. We had a picnic lunch with everyone sprawled out on their personalized blankets. Other kids even came to play with us and shared their kites and balls with them.

The kids loved having a picnic in Forest Park on their personalized quilts from DenimQuilts.

I can’t begin to tell you what this day did for my heart and my soul. It’s quite evident that these kids are experiencing what love is. They know what it means to be part of a family. They’ve learned what it means when someone has their back.

I talked with them about how hard it is to endure chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. I talked about the fatigue, the sick feeling, the metallic taste of almost all food, the inability to sleep due to frequent trips to the bathroom. I let them know that their foster mom’s cancer is treatable and has a very high success rate. Regardless of what the doctors say, it’s scary as hell, and each day in treatment (and after) brings its own challenges.

But all the while this beautiful mama manages to smile. In fact, her tears are tears of gratitude. She and her big family have been enveloped with more love than they know what to do with. They’re receiving delicious meals from supporters, from Pink Ribbon Girls, and from Angels’ Arms. One dedicated supporter redid her bedroom to make it more of a tranquil place. Others have assisted with laundry, cleaning, building another room for storage…the list goes on.

Ramona excited about her donated meals from Pink Ribbon Girls and volunteers building out a laundry room in her home.

Ramona’s new bedding and decor thanks to long-time volunteer, Linda Robben.

The kindness Ramona is experiencing is the sunshine that’s attempting to take over the always-looming clouds.

At the end of the day, I brought the kids home. They each went in to say hello to their “mom” and let her know how much fun they had. Then I went in to tell this mama how full my heart was. When you get outside of yourself and spend time with kids whose parents have died, given up parental rights, abused and neglected them, it certainly diminishes your “problems” and gives your existence a new perspective.

A selfie to remember this fun day!

We’re here to help each other. It takes more than a village. It takes one big-ass village.

Bess Wilfong
Executive Director and Founder
Angels’ Arms

Happy New Year!

Thank you for all the LOVE in 2020!

Thank you for being our support system this year. We leaned on you during the most challenging times and you came through for our foster families with your donations, meals and grocery deliveries, gifts for our kids, your time and so much more.

Our 20th anniversary year has come to an end, but we have big goals for 2021, which include expanding our reach to provide resources to even more foster families in the community.

We love having you as a part of the Angels’ Arms family and we wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

All our best,
Angels’ Arms Staff and Board of Directors
Check out a special message of thanks from our Board of Directors

Give Back

#GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday is a global day highlighting the importance of charitable giving. From giving your time to giving a donation, everyone has something to give!

Your contribution to Angels’ Arms on #GivingTuesday will ensure that the foster children living in our 13 homes receive the essentials they need to live happy and healthy lives. Your donations will help supply clothing and shoes, toiletries, school-related needs, funding for sports equipment and uniforms, camps and extracurricular activities, college related expense, and so much more.

Visit us on Tuesday, 12/1 to donate via Facebook or our website.

Uncategorized

Grace Plates Benefit Angels’ Arms in November

We are so excited to partner with our friends at Grace Meat + Three for their November Giving Grace Campaign!  A portion of each Giving Grace Plate purchased in the Month of November will Benefit Angels’ Arms.

Quarter Special Grace Plates – $13.50
Includes:
Quarter Bird – Rick’s Famous Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Johnny Cakes
& Collard Greens
*Feeds 1 Person

Family Special Grace Plates – $42.00
Includes:
Whole Bird – Rick’s Famous Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Johnny Cakes
& Collard Greens
*Feeds a Family of 4

Order HERE: https://www.stlgrace.com/

Uncategorized

Help us stock our new warehouse!

Angels’ Arms Founder/ED, Bess Wilfong, holding the keys at our new warehouse!

It’s official…we have a new warehouse! The generosity of our community has forced us to acquire a larger space that will serve as our donation drop-off and distribution center. With close to 4,000 sq ft of space, we will be able to accept even more resources to support our foster families. Check out the LIVE tour we hosted on facebook!

We are kicking off our “Stock our Warehouse Campaign”, we are accepting your donations. We encourage you to rally your family, friends, coworkers, business, church, and school and host a drive on behalf of Angels’ Arms. Below is a list of our ongoing needs:

Food items:
– Cereal and breakfast foods – Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks, Honey Nut Cheerios,
Cap’n Crunch, Reese’s Puffs
– Breakfast foods – granola bars and oatmeal
– Pasta noddles, pasta sauce (in cans/plastic containers), chicken noodle soup, canned green beans and corn, rice
– Peanut butter and jelly, apple sauce, snacks (goldfish, pretzels, chips, popcorn, crackers)

Household Items:
– Paper Products (toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates)
– Laundry Detergent, dishwasher liquid, dish soap, and bleach
– Twin sheets 
– Dark towels

Toiletries:
– Toothpaste and toothbrushes (kids and adults)
– deodorant (men’s and women’s)
– pads and tampons
– shampoo, conditioner
– body wash and lotion

Diapers:
– ALL sizes of diapers 1-5 
– Pull-up’s – sizes 3T-4T and 5T-6T
– Adult depends (sizes S/M)

We will accept furniture on an as-needed basis. We cannot accept used clothing, books, and stuffed animals.

Contact Ashley Cook if you are interested in hosting a drive for any of the following categories and to schedule a drop-off.
Ashley@angelsarms.org or call 314-842-8400

EventsNews

WINNER ANNOUNCED: Groceries for a Year Raffle

UPDATE: November 14, 2020
Congratulations to KEVIN DOLL on winning the 2020 Dierbergs Groceries for a Year raffle. Thank you to everyone for helping us sell out the raffle. We raised $20,000 in support of our foster families.



In honor of our 20th Anniversary, raffle tickets are ONLY $20 EACH and only 1,000 tickets will be sold.

One lucky winner will be selected at random on 11/14/2020 and will take home $5,200 in Dierbergs gift cards. Don’t forget to share this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with your family and friends!

*100% of all raffle ticket proceeds will benefit Angels’ Arms.
*For raffle rules and regulations, contact Jasmina@angelsarms.org

Lots of Groceries

Check out what last year’s winner has to say:
“We were very surprised when our name was called and very happy to know that we had supported this great organization and actually won something, especially something this big. Angels’ Arms is such a great organization and we never thought we would win but we wanted to take a chance and support a fantastic cause.  I would encourage anyone to buy a ticket for the chance to win but even better to support the many foster kids that are being helped in our area. We were elated to have won the gift cards and we’ve even used them at times to buy food for donations.” – Bill C.

Special thanks to our raffle sponsor:

dierbergs Frito Lay Logo  sara lee

Events

Bingo is their Game-o

This week, the Angels’ Arms Junior Board took the many fundraising setbacks they have faced this year due to COVID and turned them into something positive! Jordan Shelton, Angels’ Arms Junior Board president, designed fun Bingo Cards for our Junior Board to post on their Social Media and help raise funds for Angels’ Arms foster children. 
 

“Typically Angels’ Arms Junior Board hosts three happy hours that help raise money to fund activities for the foster children living in Angels’ Arms homes,” says Angels’ Arms Event Coordinator, Maria Chandler. “Sadly, this year, because of the pandemic, we couldn’t. So we had to get creative on how to recoup those lost funds. The Junior Board quickly jumped right into action to make up the difference!”

Example of a Bingo card post from one of our Junior Board members.

 
Over the last week, The Junior Board posted on all Social Media outlets raising awareness for Angels’ Arms and raising an incredible amount of money!! Their one week total of posting the Bingo Cards raised nearly $2,500! Far exceeding what they would have raised traditionally at their Happy Hours. 
 
“We are so thrilled that our families and friends have really stepped up this week to help us raise additional funds for the Angels’ Arms families,” says Jordan Shelton, Angels’ Arms Junior Board President. “When we started this fundraiser we set what we thought was a lofty goal and we have already surpassed that thanks to our amazing Junior Board and supporters!”
 
“To be honest, I wasn’t really sure how this fundraiser was going to go but once we got started it was so fun,” says Lindsey Van Duyne, Angels’ Arms Junior Board Vice President.  “Seeing the fellow JB members filling up their cards and trying to fill mine up as fast as I can (because everything is a competition) was so satisfying! Very rarely am I speechless but I am completely blown away by the amount of love from my family and friends! With all of the crazy going on in the world it was nice to see that there is still so much good as well.”
 
“This is just another example of how blessed we are to have these young professionals on our Junior Board, constantly advocating for our foster children and foster families, plus it shows how amazing our supporters are,” says Maria.
 
The Angels’ Arms Junior Board is comprised of 20+ young professionals in St. Louis, Missouri. If you’re interested in getting involved, please visit https://angelsarms.org/join-the-junior-board/ and fill out the Junior Board application today! 
Foster FamilyOur Homes

Q&A with Kasondra – Our Newest House Mother

As our busiest couple months ever comes to a close, we can’t wait to introduce you to our newest house mother, Kasondra McDaniel! She will be moving into one of our Ballwin homes. Kasondra and Kim, one of our current house parents, are sisters. So not only are we helping foster siblings, but we also have siblings doing the fostering! Kasondra has been fostering for two years now and has fostered five children including two sibling groups. Please enjoy this brief Q&A with Kasondra:


What compelled you to become a foster parent?

My sister and all her many foster children inspired me. Kim has been a foster parent in the St. Louis area for over 20 years. Her family has made a home for over a hundred foster children. Watching her and the children over the years inspired me to help make a difference in children’s lives.  

What does it mean to you to now be a part of the Angels’ Arms Family?

Being a foster parent is challenging, as well as rewarding. Angels’ Arms provides support/resources and a community for foster families. The African Proverb is true, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That quote is especially true when dealing with foster care. In addition to becoming part of an organization that is focused on making foster children’s lives better. It will be a great honor and blessing for my family to be a part of the Angels’ Arms family. 

 

Do you have a favorite memory of fostering? If so, what is it?

Some of my favorite memories include multiple firsts for the foster children.   I can not highlight one specific memory, but I have multiple favorites that all include: bright eyes, “Ooooos” and “Awwws,” smiles, laughter, and fun. A child’s first experience at the zoo, pool, movie theater, concert, Six Flags, shopping, fireworks, special birthdays, and Christmas. When a child becomes comfortable and feels safe enough to grab you and give you a hug. It is always a special memory when a child allows you to show them love, respect, and the appreciation they deserve.

What are you most looking forward to about becoming an Angels’ Arms house parent?

Once again, I cannot choose one thing I’m looking forward to. We are looking forward to moving into a home that is freshly painted and new to us. I am looking forward to my very own bathroom…  lol. The little things I know! We love the location of the house and it will allow my kids to ride their bikes in the neighborhood safely. The new location will make my life easier due to the availability of daycare and after-school care because I am a full-time teacher too. So many things to look forward to, but the bottom line is the constant support and appreciation shown by so many in order to prove to these kiddos that people do care.