July 2020 Issue:

  A Note from our Executive Director
Food Insecurity
Stock the Pantry Food Drive
Hands of Hope Highlight
Thank You to Our Group Volunteers
Ways to Help
Greetings!
As we reach deeper into the summer months, I wanted to provide you with an update on the work of Casa de Esperanza. We all continue to live under a sense of uncertainty, but you can be sure of one thing:  your support has allowed us to continue responding to the increased needs of our children and families. 

While we have provided you with frequent updates on the needs of our Aftercare families, all of Casa de Esperanza's programs have had significant changes due to COVI D-19. Over the past few months we have worked closely with our medical advisors while following the recommendations of state and local officials to keep our children and staff safe, shifting our operations to effectively continue our mission. Some of our modifications include:

  • Adjusting our intake process to follow CDC guidelines and protocols, including quarantining, testing, social distancing, and cleaning/sanitizing.
  • Utilizing technology for virtual case-management and family visits.
  • Training Hands of Hope House Parents and Volunteer Community Foster Care families remotely.
  • Using no-contact food and supply deliveries to the Residential Neighborhood and families we serve.
  • Ensuring that we maintain communication with you, our volunteers and donors. You have answered our call by providing food and meal deliveries to our Residential Neighborhood and online storytelling and classes with our children.
  • Although our administrative staff continue to work from home, we are implementing recommended protocols for staff returning to work, including cleaning and requirements for mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing.

None of us know what the next weeks or months will bring. We will continue to follow the advice of our medical team and local and state governments to determine the best ways to reopen our office and neighborhood to visitors when the time is right.

During a period when we know so many of you are facing your own challenges, your continued support and kinds words lift up our families and staff. We continue to also keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers and wish you continued health and safety.

Sincerely,




Shelley M. Starr 
Executive Director
How Food Insecurity Impacts our Children and
Ways YOU Can Help
Jeremy was 17 months old when he came to Casa de Esperanza. Food had not been consistently available to Jeremy during his young life, so despite being offered three meals and three snacks per day at Casa de Esperanza, Jeremy obsessively looked for and ate whatever food he could find. He routinely looked for food in the trash cans. Every day, he would stand at the pantry door and cry until he was given something to eat, even if he had just eaten. When other children had food, he would try to take it from them. He routinely ate until he was at the point of throwing up. 

To help Jeremy, his foster parents kept a variety of healthy snacks in the pantry, so that whenever he went to the pantry door wanting food, they could quickly hand him a snack. Food was always visible in the home. When Jeremy was especially anxious he was given a snack to keep with him at all times. 

After several months in placement, Jeremy no longer picks food out of the garbage. He doesn’t stand at the pantry and cry and he no longer tries to take food from other children. He is learning to stop eating when he is full, and he sometimes even leaves the table with food still on his plate.  For the first time, Jeremy has a healthy relationship with food and knows what food security feels like.
All children need a sense of security around food to grow and thrive, and it is vital that children like Jeremy have enough to eat once they leave placement. Casa de Esperanza's in-house food pantry not only supports the children and caregivers in the Residential Neighborhood; it also serves as a resource for Aftercare families who need additional food

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our families’ needs are greater than ever. Most of Casa de Esperanza’s Aftercare families have lost income due to the pandemic. Our families may also have limited transportation making shopping at multiple stores to find out-of-stock items, stocking up on a week’s supply of food, or doing curbside pickup difficult.   Since March, Casa de Esperanza caseworkers have provided much needed groceries and supplies to our families over 300 times.  

You can help Casa de Esperanza restock our pantry! Hosting a food drive is a great way to contribute to our mission and nourish the children and families who depend on us. Casa de Esperanza is accepting donations at our office each Tuesday from 10AM – 12PM. For additional information on making a food donation or hosting a food drive, please visit our website or contact Mikaela
Meet Appolonia, a Georgia Southern University graduate from Folkston, Georgia!

Why did you decide to come to Casa de Esperanza?
I decided to come to Casa de Esperanza because I wanted to make a positive impact on a child’s life.
  
Share a favorite memory.
My favorite memory was when one of the children in my home said my name for the first time. It’s my favorite memory because he wasn’t really saying many words at the time.

What is one thing you learned since arriving at Casa de Esperanza?
It truly takes a village to raise a child. 

What is one piece of advice, guidance, or recommendation for someone who is considering Hands of Hope?
One piece of advice I would give someone considering Hands of Hope is that even though work can be hectic, taking time for self-care is extremely important. 
Thank You to Our June Group Volunteers!
A big thanks to all of our groups who provided meals or other support in June! 

Birthday Bundles for Kids
National Charity League - Memorial
Prelude Music Foundation
Second Servings
Sole Loved
Until we are able to resume normal group volunteer opportunities, if you or someone you know would like to schedule a restaurant meal delivery with their corporate or community group, email Mikaela Fox
COVID-19 is impacting all industries and businesses, especially small businesses and local restaurants. Help us support those who support Casa de Esperanza by purchasing food to-go, shopping online, or purchasing a gift card.
Other Ways to Help