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Room in our home, room in our hearts … interview with an Angels’ Arms foster mom.

When you meet an Angels’ Arms foster parent, you begin to understand that these are very special people. People who love and care for children, and are willing to sacrifice more than you can imagine to give them the life they deserve.

One of our newer parents joined Angels’ Arms in the middle of the covid pandemic. After a year as an Angels’ Arms foster parent, we checked in with Lawreene Hall to learn more about her and what this past year has been like.

Room in our home, room in our hearts

Although Lawreene and her husband Will Hall joined Angels’ Arms as a foster parents in July 2021, they began fostering in 2013. Lawreene watched her own mother foster children for 18 years. It made a big impact on her, and she felt that “God placed it on my heart to become a foster mom. We had room in our home and our hearts.”

She watched former foster children return to her mother and say, “I don’t know where I would be if you didn’t course correct me. In the midst of fostering, they may not have understood or appreciated what was going on, but it made a difference that changed their lives.”

Lawreene’s three biological sons and Will’s son and daughter were grown and had homes of their own, which left them with “room in their home.” Now they care for six foster children, and they also enjoy nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way. But even with their own children out of the house, the Hall’s realized that their 3-bedroom home and small backyard were not ideal for raising a big group of boys.

Much needed support

With Angels’ Arms, everything changed. Lawreene explained that at first, “the biggest change was our location, a totally different school district which we love. And more space. We now have four bedrooms, and a huge back yard. The boys having more outdoor space was just fantastic.”

But for Lawreene and her family, it’s the extras that come with being an Angels’ Arms home that makes a huge difference. “We are just able to do so much more for the boys. They definitely see and feel the difference. Something as simple as an extra bowl of cereal is huge. When you raise boys, they are always hungry. The word of the summer is ‘snack,’ and I constantly hear, ‘When is it time to eat again?’ The extra groceries and the gift cards – those are just a godsend.

“And there are so many other things, things I never thought about. We were going on a weekend trip, and Angels’ Arms supplied us with sunscreen, beach towels, life jackets, water shoes, everything the boys needed to have a special get-away. Not having to shop at a thrift store or look for hand-me-downs, that makes them feel good, too. It really ups their self-esteem. They can really blend in at school or wherever they go. Used clothes are great, but it feels good to get them brand new things sometimes, just like all the other kids they are with.”

Another real plus for Lawreene is the other Angels’ Arms parents. “I have a support system with Angels’ Arms, this core group of parents I can talk to. That extra support really helps.”

Navigating a year in covid

Lawreene didn’t know exactly what the future would hold when she came to Angels’ Arms last July in the middle of the pandemic. When the world shut down, Lawreene was still caring for six children. The resources that Angels’ Arms provided, from extra laptops and a printer to help with school work, were critical to helping the family get through the school year. “My hats go off to teachers. I couldn’t do it — but I had to do it for 2020. Covid was tough emotionally. You had the worry of keeping everyone healthy. I needed to stay healthy for them because they had underlying fears – ‘Miss Lawreene what will happen to us if you or Mr. Will get covid?’ That was extra stress for them.”

Homeschooling was difficult because the children are all at different levels. “They may be the same age, but they are not on the same playing field school wise. Imagine you are in kindergarten, and your first experience with school is on a zoom – that stinks. They needed the socialization with their peers. That was the roughest part of covid for us, and everyone was relieved when they got to go back to the classroom, even a few days a week.”

On the positive side, “2020 was a slow-down moment. We are always so go, go, go. We learned that things that we thought mattered, really didn’t matter. Things that we thought we couldn’t survive without were not as important as we thought. The health and safety of those around us was really the most important thing. I think God just told us to slow down. Breathe. Look up. I felt like the birds were chirping more. I wondered if they had always been there chirping in the morning. And it seemed like the grass was greener, the sun was brighter. I don’t know if it really was, or if we just slowed down and were able to see it and hear it for the first time.”


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


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

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


Our Birthday Back-to-School Fundraiser

The greatest gift you can give us on our 20th birthday is the gift of school supplies! Help us celebrate 20 years of supporting foster families by making a $20 donation and help fulfill our kids’ school supply needs. We currently have 40 school-age children and teens living in our homes and they all need various school supplies ranging from crayons to graphing calculators. Our goal today is to raise $2,500 to ensure each child is equipped with all the resources they need to have a successful start to the school year, whether that’s in person or virtual.

Two ways to donate: 

via Facebook Fundraiser

via our website,

Please note: In an effort to keep our families and supporters healthy, we’ve chosen to host a back to school fundraiser instead of collecting school supplies. This method will allow us to directly distribute gift cards to our foster families and allow them to purchase the school supplies themselves through online deliveries and curbside pick up. Thank you in advance for your support


Home-Schooling Needs!

With the uncertainty revolving around the upcoming school year, we are anticipating most of the 55 children living in our 13 homes to be learning from home.

Wish list ➡️

The wish list above is comprised of electronics that our families have specifically requested in order to help with their homeschooling. We hope you will consider purchasing something from this wish list or even making a donation via our website. If you do purchase something from our wish list, please sign your name on the card so we can thank you properly.

Headphones are a HUGE need among out homes: we are asking for 40 pairs.

We want to make this transition as easy as possible not only for the children, but also for the foster parents who now have to act has teachers on top of their normal daily responsibilities.

For most of our homes, this virtual learning presents new problems we have never faced before. “With 7 children having to quarantine for 14 days every time a child is exposed, we would never be allowed to leave home between school and family visits,” says one of our foster parents. “I already have a child at home quarantined. We are forced into total virtual education again.” We are grateful that our families are healthy and safe, but this is brand new terrain that the children and parents living in our homes will have to learn to navigate. We hope to provide some assistance during these trying times.

To avoid group gatherings and the contact required of walk-ins and drop-offs, all donations will be conducted online and handled via shipping services. We are not accepting used donations at this time. We hope for your understanding of our decision to maintain reasonable distance and protection of one another.


Angels’ Arms Diversity Statement

Like many of you, we have witnessed the protest and community unrest over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Angels’ Arms would like to express our sincerest condolences to those families. Angels’ Arms cares deeply about the foster parents, children and the communities we serve. We hurt for black and brown people and the pain they have endured and continue to endure.

In the midst of a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting communities of color, we are reminded of the inequalities these communities have faced and continue to face. Angels’ Arms stands against racism, police brutality and all forms of injustice. Angels’ Arms also stands alongside those brave enough to serve and protect our communities honorably and who are left to answer for those who do not. We are grateful for all of our supporters who stand with us and are demanding change.

Angels’ Arms is committed to this change and to creating more opportunities for foster children and youth, families and communities of color. These communities experience daily undiagnosed trauma with no real outlet or escape. We are engaging in internal reflection and change that moves through our board, our staff, and our families. We are diversifying our Board of Directors and our Junior Board. We are engaging in real discussion with our supporters and our staff. We are extending our outreach to even more communities in St. Louis City and County, as well as St. Charles and other surrounding areas.

We would like to do more. We are open to listening and learning all we can do to help make some much-needed change happen through dialogue, and more importantly, through action. We invite you to join us as we continue to strive for change. All of us share the responsibility to understand why the playing field is not level for people of color, and how we can help to level it out.


Milk, Bread & Eggs, oh my!

Foster parents are having an extra challenging time right now. They are doing their best to keep life “normal” for the the children in their care. Things like therapy, court visits, bio family visits, are all virtual. Family visits disappeared overnight. Foster parents are spending their days and data plans video conferencing with bio families and social workers, all the while trying to implement homeschooling activities, cooking many meals a day, and keeping the kids entertained and engaged.

Most of our homes have multiple children (on average 5 to 6), and some of these kids have medical needs. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for the parents to leave their homes to grocery shop. And when they do, they are presented with limits on the items they need the most such as milk, bread, and eggs.
Please consider signing up to shop for and deliver an essential grocery bundle to any of our foster families.

Sign up here:
*Drop-offs will be safe, with no interaction with any family members.*


Putting a Smile on our Faces

Drs. Aaron Cregger and James Schneider have been caring for multiple children and parents living in our 13 homes for several years. It’s difficult to find a dentist who accepts Medicaid, and when you do, you typically have to schedule 8 or more months out. They treat the foster children’s teeth on both an emergency basis and a preventative basis, in addition to providing ongoing care. They call in favors from specialists to perform work on their teeth, ranging from periodontal work to oral surgery to orthodontics. They not only tend to our families’ teeth, but they also take part in our annual Secret Santa exchange as well as attending fundraising events and donating to Wish Wednesday Facebook fundraisers. They make it a point to be involved in the lives of our kids beyond their dental hygiene.

“Dr. Cregger has been a blessing to my family! He treats all of my teens and myself,” says Barb Bocklage, one of our foster parents. “I cannot say enough about how much I appreciate him, as there are no words. Prior to using Dr. Cregger my foster children struggled just to get a cavity filled. Thank you Dr. Cregger for being a blessing in our lives!”

“They have always gone above and beyond for our family. Even getting colleague specialists to see a few of our boys,” says Phyllis Hackman, another 

one of our foster parents. “They continue to see us parents with insurance and they forgive any portion of the balance that our insurance doesn’t cover. They are a BLESSING.”


Finally, another one of our foster parents, Jennifer Tripp, tells a story of the difference Dr. Cregger makes in the lives of her kids:

Let me tell you what it was like before, myself and our foster children started visiting with Dr. Schnider and Dr. Creggers office. 

It wasn’t a pleasant experience for my kiddos. Dental clinics that take Medicaid are far a few between and not the most friendly or organized places to visit for dental needs. 

Scheduling, well let’s just say, once I scheduled my kids for an appointment, the waiting period is at least a month or longer to get them in. If an emergency happens, you take your kids into the clinic. While there, we wait most of the day to see a dentist for the emergency unless we’re really lucky. It’s exhausting for everyone! 

Once, the child is called back it’s more like an assembly line without private rooms or feeling of privacy for talking privately with the doctor. 

It’s a long drawn out experience of which I do not miss!

Now let me tell you about Dr. Schnider’s and Dr. Cregger’s office

I have been taking my kids to their office for years. There are many reasons why. 

We’re always greeted with smiles and kindness. We are always called back within 10 minutes. All of us, the entire family called back together. 

Once we get called back, we are informed of what is to take place and put into a clean private room. 

Both Doctor’s and staff are informative and answers any questions we may have. 

Everyone is so good about working with our children. They have a way of making our kids feel safe and comfortable. 

When finished up, after being treated with gentle care our kids get prizes and of course a new toothbrush and paste. How fun! 

And scheduling, never an issue. Never having to wait long especially, for follow ups. And emergency’s well, my kids are seen that day or the next morning. How great is that!! 

The fact that Dr. Schnider and Dr. Cregger and staff open up their hearts, their talents and their time to give our foster children healthy and beautiful smiles is a godsend to me and our foster children. They walk out of the office with million-dollar smiles and it’s not just because they got their teeth cleaned it because of the whole experience.


Also, many of our board members as well as our founder and executive director, Bess, go to these dentists. “I never thought I’d look forward to going to the dentist, but I actually do now,” says Bess. “This practice is a family, and I receive the best care possible.”

They are currently accepting new patients at their new and beautiful office located at 1000 Des Peres Rd. Suite. 130, St Louis, MO 63131.

















Monday-Wednesday 4:30am to 5:00pm

Thursday 4:30am-12pm (noon)



(314) 567-7737

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Working Remotely

Out of an abundance of caution for our team members, foster families, volunteers and supporters, we are following CDC recommended guidelines surrounding COVID-19 and will be working remotely through April 3. Although our physical office will be closed, we will continue to be available to support our foster families on a daily basis and will provide them with resources they need to care for the children in their homes.

Also, in an effort to keep our families and supporters safe, we are limiting visitors to our homes and suspending all meal drop-offs, birthday pal sign ups and volunteer work days. These are uncertain times, but there are still things you can do to help the families living in our homes:

  1. If you wish to continue to support our families with a meal, we ask that you consider making a donation on our website instead so that we can purchase grocery gift cards for the homes.
  2. For those who wish to ensure our March and April birthday kids still have a birthday celebration, we encourage you to send a birthday card and include a gift card if you wish. For a list of birthdays, email
  3. Visit our Amazon wishlist and have supplies delivered directly to our families.

As far as our May 15th Sip and Savor Fundraising Event , we have not made any decision to cancel or reschedule the event but we are monitoring the situation closely and will make any future updates relating to the event via our website and facebook page.

Sending you lots of healthy and positive energy!
Team Angels’ Arms

Get to know the new Junior Board President

In November of last year, the Junior Board elected a new President – Jordan Shelton! She previously served as the Vice President of the Junior Board and was the recipient of the 2017 Angel of the Year Award. Jordan got involved with Angels’ Arms since she joined the Junior Board in 2015. Her decision to join stemmed from her teaching; one of the students in her class was in the foster care system and separated from his sibling. Upon learning this information about her student, Jordan recalled hearing about a nonprofit whose mission was to keep siblings in the foster care system together – Enter Angels’ Arms and the Junior Board! Jordan says she hasn’t looked back since filling out the Junior Board application.

Below, we asked Jordan a couple quick questions about her newly-elected role and what Angels’ Arms means to her:


What’s your favorite part about being on the Junior Board?

I can’t pick just one favorite part of being on the Junior Board, it is so much fun for such a great cause! A few of my favorite parts of being on the Junior Board are getting to plan and execute fun events with the rest of the Junior Board that raise money to help the kids in the Angels’ Arms homes and getting to plan and attend events with the kids in the Angels’ Arms homes. Events like Trivia Night, Sip & Savor, and Bar Bounce are so fun to plan and a blast to attend, but getting the opportunity to meet the kids and young adults in the Angels’ Arms homes at those events really warms my heart and reminds me why we do those other events.


Describe what it means to be elected President of the Junior Board.

It is such an honor to be the new President of the Junior Board! I have had a lot of great examples to follow from the past presidents and I am so excited to get to help lead such an involved and passionate group of young professionals. The members of the Angels’ Arms Junior Board really help make my job fun because they are so involved, bring lots of great ideas, and have a heart for these kids.


“From the moment Jordan joined the Junior Board she jumped right in and took leadership roles by serving on committees, becoming the chair of events, and going above and beyond in many other ways,” says our Event Coordinator, Maria. “She was dedicated since day one and that passion for the organization has only grown. She is a terrific advocate for Angels’ Arms and is constantly finding ways to make the Junior Board more organized and effective. Two things I love! Those qualities, along with her ability to encourage others on the Junior Board to also be more dedicated and involved, have helped to create a wonderful environment and camaraderie between all of the members. We just love Jordan!”
We are so lucky to have someone who is so passionate about the work we do as our Junior Board President. People who have the drive and determination, such as Jordan, are the reason our Junior Board has raised over one million dollars for Angels’ Arms! We cannot wait to see all of the amazing things Jordan does as President.

Jordan at our annual Skating with Santa event.

Jordan at our annual Sip and Savor event.

Jordan receiving the and 2017 Angel of the Year Award.