To foster children, The Bloom Closet experience is more than just picking out clothing; it’s a reminder that they are loved and valued as members of our community.
When children enter the foster care system, they typically do not bring anything with them other than the clothes on their backs. As victims of circumstance, they are usually scared and traumatized and often feel displaced. Although foster parents are given a stipend for clothing, it isn’t enough to cover the actual costs of a child’s clothing and supplies.
The Bloom Closet, operated by Fayetteville-based nonprofit organization, Bloom Our Youth, addresses this need by collecting and distributing donated clothing, baby gear, shoes, toiletries, school supplies and toys for foster families—free of cost! In 2016, The Bloom Closet served more than 2,000 foster children from 60 Georgia counties, donating $608,000 worth of merchandise. By 2019, Bloom expects to serve 75% more foster children, totaling approximately 3,500 children.
The boutique-style children’s store is decorated like an upscale boutique, and the foster families “shop” with the assistance of The Bloom Closet Personal Shopper. Any child in state custody can “shop” at The Bloom Closet for clothing and necessities.
“The entire experience boosts their self-esteem,” comments Alisha Provence, The Bloom Closet manager. “We also provide items to promote good hygiene. I’ve seen foster children who haven’t had a bath in weeks because they didn’t have soap or water at home.”
The Bloom Closet operates mainly on volunteer support from individuals, families and community groups. In addition, funds raised at Bloom’s annual “Frocks & Rocks Charity Fashion Show” benefit The Bloom Closet. Each year, local boutiques, photographers and businesses gather to participate in this spectacular event.
Through The Bloom Closet, the community is invited to make a difference in the life of a foster child. By volunteering at The Bloom Closet, organizing a clothing donation drive or donating personal belongings, each and every person can help to give foster children a brighter future.