Fostering Hope

The Norwex Foundation for a Brighter Future, awarded a $10,000 grant to Fostering Hope on Friday. Fostering Hope is a faith-based, nonprofit organization in Carl Junction that provides resources to foster families, children in care and agency workers. Norwex, of Norway, provides products designed to reduce the use of chemicals in homes. GLOBE | KIMBERLY BARKER

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Melisha Meredith and her husband, Ryan, of Joplin, first became foster parents in 2012. In the interim, they’ve taken in about a dozen foster care children in either short- or long-term care.

Meredith, who works as a consultant for Norwex — a Norwegian-based company that focuses on enhancing quality of life by eradicating and reducing chemicals in homes — has used the services offered by Fostering Hope in Carl Junction for clothing, toys and meals for kids.

Fostering Hope is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that supports and serves the local foster care community by providing resources to children in care, foster families and agency workers.

“I’m a foster and adoptive mom, so I’ve really benefited from Fostering Hope as a foster parent, and I know my kids that have been in my home have benefited from the ministry and services that they offer,” said Meredith. “We became foster parents when we realized how many children are in the foster care system. We have four kiddos, three biological and one that we’ve adopted from foster care. He was our first foster placement, and he’s been with us now for 9 years.”

On Sept. 30, 2019, there were an estimated 423,997 children in foster care in the United States, with nearly one-third, or 32%, were in relative homes, and nearly half, or 46%, were in nonrelative foster family homes, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Each year, Norwex consultants nominate organizations nationwide for grants through its charitable arm, the Norwex Foundation for a Brighter Future. Meredith wanted to give back to the organization that has done so much for her family and chose it as her nominee.

The foundation committee approved the nomination where company officials flew in to award a $10,000 check to Fostering Hope on Friday. Fostering Hope was launched in 2012 by Sarah and Jeff Burch who wanted to make a difference in the lives of community foster children.

The Caring Closet, which offers free resources to the foster community, was also launched that year by Joanna and Zach Holden. The two ministries merged into one and became a nonprofit in 2015, and continues to grow and work with local churches, businesses and organizations.

“My husband and I were foster parents and saw that there were gaps that needed to be filled,” said Joanna Holden, Fostering Hope program director. “Sarah and her husband were starting something similar, as well. We had never met before. Somebody that knew both of us told us to meet, and that’s where it started.”

The grant will be used towards future expansion since the nonprofit’s currently outgrowing its space at 1200 Briarbrook Drive, Suite D, in Carl Junction. Holden said the vision is to have a location near the future Jasper County CASA building on East 20th Street in Joplin.

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Kimberly Barker is a news reporter for The Globe who covers Northeast Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas, as well as Carl Junction, Carthage and Webb City.