Foster kids getting that loving feeling
Baby S, the beautiful baby was so cute and cuddly that Allie Roth could not bear to part with her at the open house for With Love on April 14.
Roth sashayed all over the place cradling Baby S (who returned Roths high esteem) in her arms, laughing, talking and having a better time than anybody.
Baby S is a perfect example of why the Lake Oswego resident Roth was so highly motivated to start With Love, an organization that aids foster families by collecting all of the things that a kid needs. The organization has struck such a chord that it has made progress in leaps and bounds over the past three years, and the open house was a celebration of all that has been accomplished. Visitors to the recently expanded With Love warehouse in Tigard viewed the overwhelming amount of clothes, shoes, toys, bedding, baby gear, toiletries and books that have been collected, all expertly bagged, boxed and sorted.
Soon all of that stuff will be distributed to foster families, but the shelves will simply fill up again as donations flood in. That is why everyone connected With Love is so exuberant, especially Allie Roth.
This has happened because we have been able to authentically organize, Roth said. Weve never gone beyond what we were able to provide. Weve been able to form so many wonderful partnerships with other organizations who have watched us grow and want to be part of our story.
One key reason With Love keeps growing is that Roth has been very lucky in her choice of friends. Like Rebecca Kelso, who was responsible for baking the 120 cookies, 60 pie bars and 40 cupcakes served at the open house. Such effort takes dedication, and Kelso is consumed with it. It all happened one night when Roth visited Kelsos home church to make a presentation about With Love. It was love with With Love at first sight.
I was so impressed with Allie that I started going to With Love meetings, said Kelso, a wife and mother of two girls. I kept hanging around until Allie asked, What are you good at? Baking is the only thing Im good.
If that was so it would be enough, but Kelso is an all-around great volunteer for With Love. Not only is she now a board member but she is adept at recruiting other women for the organization, such as her mother-in-law, Natasha Dalby, who now manages the warehouse.
Im bringing everybody, Kelso said. Its amazing what Allie has done. She makes you see her vision. It is so exciting to watch us grow.
One of Kelsos recruits was Krissy Hires, who on the day after the open house became With Loves first fulltime employee. The chance to work for With Love was enough to make Hires give up her career in real estate.
I thought, Hey, this is something Im really interested in, Hires said. Something like this has always been in my heart. It is great to combine a career with something I am passionate about.
Although Hires said, If you had told me a year ago I would be executive director of With Love, I would have laughed.
She is now loaded with the essential nuts-and-bolts duties of a rapidly growing organization; like utilizing the warehouse, fundraising, public speaking and increasing awareness of With Love so it can serve even more foster families. It will be fun for Hires when minor miracles happen, like someone in a station wagon showing up with a huge load of diapers or Nike providing 300 beautiful Christmas stockings out of the blue.
When I first came to With Love a year ago we served 25 foster kids, Hires said. Now were serving 70.
Among the honored guests at the With Love open house were some of the many foster children that have been helped, such as Baby S, who had women lining up to carry her around. But when you mention how beautiful Baby S is to Roth, she said, Its a funny thing, but all of our kids are good looking.
Yes, all kids are beautiful when you look at them with eyes of love.
For more about With Love, go to their website at withloveoregon.org.