Kristle Davis and her husband, Nick, had it on their hearts to foster a sibling set of older children. Who came into their family wasn’t what they had expected, but it has opened a whole new set of doors — and closets.
“They got a call for Kaden, and he was about 10 months old. When they picked him up, they didn’t have anything for an infant,” says the Rev. Tim Champ, pastor of Troy Christian Church and Davis’ father. “That kind of birthed the idea that there are other people like that that get placements and don’t have what they might need.”
Now, several years later, Davis has helped established multiple Kadens Kloset locations across Iowa, and now one in Kansas, to help meet the needs of foster and adoptive families and children in the surrounding communities. A Kadens Kloset is currently in the preparation stages at Troy Christian Church in Troy, Kansas.
“That’s what the Lord calls us to do, to serve families in need,” says Dana Clary of Highland, Kansas, who attends Troy Christian Church and is the project manager for the local Kadens Kloset. “Being able to really love on and reach out to the families is going to be the biggest thing for us to restore some hope for them.”
The local effort started earlier this year when Davis shared her story, including her own time in the foster care system and being adopted by the Champ family, with members of the church. Her story and efforts to help families and children resonated with a group of eight women, says Clary, who works with children through Parents as Teachers and was impacted by adoption as a teenager when her family adopted her older brother.
“We tossed some ideas around and approached pastor Tim and said ‘Can we do this? Where can we do this?’” Clary says. “There’s been a really big interest, and people are excited to have this in our community.”
For the last several months, volunteers have worked to turn the three rooms upstairs in the church’s parsonage into the new home of Kadens Kloset. Carpet was removed, walls were painted and curtains hung. When it’s completed, each room will hold a different type of donated items, including clothing and larger items like cribs and toys.
“We are looking to help restore dignity for those kiddos because they feel lost and broken and those families step up to the plate,” Clary says. “It’s a huge responsibility and there aren’t a ton of resources for them once they do receive kids. I think this is a great way for us to partner with them to provide the things they need, and for the kiddos to be able to pick some of their own things.”
All the new or gently used donated items will be available for free to foster and adoptive parents, including those in the target of Doniphan, Atchison and Brown counties. It is not based on financial need, Clary says.
The closet officially opens Saturday, July 1, with an open house Sunday, June 25, but organizers already have started helping families, Clary says. They’ve also begun partnering with local agencies to help identify children and families who might need the service in the surrounding communities.
“That’s kind of the unknown. Will we have one person a month, or two a month? A year from now, I hope we can look back and have the stories that we helped these families and that we have the support of the community,” Champ says. “It doesn’t work unless you have people sharing with us, financially and with the donations. A year from now, I hope our rooms are stocked and we have a resume that we’ve served people and made a difference.”
The first official drop-off for donations was held this week, and a second drop-off will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 3, at the Troy Christian Church parsonage, located next to the church at 120 S. Liberty St. in Troy. Items also can be mailed or dropped off at the church.
Needed donations include diapers, cribs, child bedding, clothing of all sizes, new sheet sets and blankets, swimwear, school supplies and toiletries. Items can go to children from birth to 18 years old.
“Hangers are going to be something we hadn’t really thought about. We have closet space and racks to hang clothes on, but we don’t have a ton of hangers,” Clary says. “If there’s anything a family that comes to shop needs, and we don’t have it, we will go and buy it for them with the monetary donations.”
To get more information about making a donation or make an appointment to receive items from Kadens Kloset, contact Clary at 785-741-4489 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the church at 785-985-3846. More information also is available on the Kadens Kloset: Troy, KS Facebook page.
“I think the community is pretty excited about it. Everybody has things that they don’t use anymore, or when you have kids, they outgrow things and they’ve worn them twice,” Clary says. “I think having it be able to stay in our community is a big draw for a lot of families.”