Local foster children benefit from Crosby Church’s clothing donation

Cyndie Abshire (second from right) picked up two large boxes of new clothing items on Wednesday from Crosby Church. Abshire, who is a volunteer for the Liberty County Child Welfare Board, then took the items to the Rainbow Room. Pictured with her are Jessica Green, Crosby Church Pastor Keenan Smith, Lorie Smith and Denita Owens.

Future and current foster children in Liberty and Chambers counties will benefit from a huge clothing donation to the Rainbow Room in Liberty from Crosby Church. On Wednesday, Dec. 28, Crosby Church provided two huge boxes containing an estimated 500 pieces of new clothing items to the Rainbow Room in Liberty.

“This was a big deal because the benefits will be far-reaching to not only the children currently in foster case but to prevent removals and to help caseworkers during future removals,” said Cyndie Abshire, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Child Welfare Board, which oversees the Rainbow Room.

When neglected or abused children are removed from their homes by Children’s Protective Services caseworkers following an investigation, they often leave with only the clothes on their backs, and those items are often soiled or worn. The Rainbow Room is a resource for CPS caseworkers to attain clothing items, diapers, shoes and hygiene items for families to prevent a removal, and for foster children and foster parents after a removal.

“Sometimes the children are placed with another family member, but that person doesn’t have the items the kids needs or the means to help the children. This helps to make sure the placement is stable and isn’t imposing a hardship on the family members,” Abshire said.

On Wednesday, Abshire was given an opportunity to “shop” for the 500 clothing items in Crosby Church’s gym, which has been transformed in recent days to look like a clothing store with rack upon rack of new clothing items that were donated to Crosby Church’s Clothe a Child nonprofit. A couple of hours later, the clothing items, in sizes from infant to teen, were on the shelves of the Rainbow Room.

Abshire said this is the first time in recent memory that the Rainbow Room has been fully stocked with items.

“Everything is organized. It looks so nice. Our objective is to be able to size all the clothing items, so caseworkers can come in, pick up a tote and collect and gather the items they need for children,” Abshire said.

Currently, there are 75 children in foster care in Liberty County; another 25 are in foster care in Chambers County. The Rainbow Room provides items to both neighboring counties.

Abshire is grateful for the generosity of Crosby Church and one of its church members – Meadow Noyer of Meadow Noyer Allstate – for connecting the two organizations.

Clothing children is mission for Crosby Church

Almost 20 years ago, Crosby Church founded a non-profit organization called Clothe a Child. Through Clothe a Child, applications are given to school districts in the church’s region, including Dayton ISD. The applications are given to counselors, who then put them into the hands of families in need. The school counselors vet the needs of the families, which removes the case management obligation for Crosby Church’s Clothe a Child.

This year was the largest Clothe a Child event in the organization’s history with approximately 1,800 students receiving $100 in clothing items at two participating Walmart stores in Crosby and Atascocita.

“The families usually leave with a buggy full of clothes for their children. We are the largest shopping day for our two Walmart stores, bigger than Black Friday. We have a few thousand people shopping in the stores at one time, so they shut down six of their check-out aisles just for Clothe a Child,” said Crosby Church Pastor Keenan Smith. “As this non-profit is operated by volunteers, when people give $100 to Clothe a Child, 100 percent of it goes to the children.”

Not all of the families who applied for assistance qualified, and others were unable to make it on the big shopping days of Dec. 19-20. However, Crosby Church was able to bless them with free clothing anyway after the church received an estimated quarter-million dollars worth of clothing from area department stores.

“We called all of those families and this became a bigger blessing in a way because we were able to give them a couple of hundred dollars worth of clothes, and we let the parents shop for clothes, too. That’s far better than what they would have received through Clothe a Child,” Smith said.

The sheer volume of donated clothing allowed Crosby Church to welcome in children’s advocacy groups, including Bridgehaven CAC, Liberty County Child Welfare Board and the Rainbow Room. Each organization was given an abundance of clothing items that will ultimately be given to children in need.

“We filled this gym up three times. That’s about half of the clothing we have. It’s a bunch. Once the families were given an opportunity to shop, we opened it up to the children’s advocacy groups. The rest of the clothing will be distributed to other places. We have a couple of churches up north that are in desperate need and some will be given to children’s orphanages in Mexico,” Smith said.

Clothe a Child is one of several ways that Crosby Church helps the community. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Crosby Church has given away roughly 5 million pounds of food, donated by individuals and organization, and provided by Houston Food Bank.

Do you want to help foster children?

Monetary donations are always needed to help foster children with expenses that are not typically covered by government funding. These extra expenses include items such as individual tutoring, summer camps, graduation caps and gowns, etc.

To make a donation, send a check or money order to Liberty County Child Welfare Board-Rainbow Room, P.O. Box 14, Liberty, Texas 77575.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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