Community

Donations of shoes to help foster children in Maple Valley

Dozens of families in and around Maple Valley have opened their homes to foster children.

Those youngsters often have many basic needs when they come into foster care, among them a pair of shoes.

When Kim Emmons learned about this from Lisa Wiscomb, who is the coordinator of the Fostering Together group that has met in Maple Valley for more than a year, it made sense to find a way to make sure the roughly 100 foster kids in Maple Valley got shoes for Christmas.

Emmons, who owns and operates John L. Scott of Maple Valley in Four Corners with her husband, Jack, has learned quite a bit about the foster care system this year. The couple brought a baby into their home in May.

It was through that Emmons discovered the Fostering Together group, which meets monthly to provide support, training and friendship to local families who have taken in foster children.

“This group, when we get together, there’s about 50 families who have opened their homes up to foster kids,” Emmons said. “Among those families, there’s about 100 kids in care in our area. Some kids are in care just for a day, some kids are in care for a lifetime.”

In addition to the real estate office, the Emmons also own Mitzel’s, a restaurant in Kent.

“With both (businesses) we looked for a charitable contribution to make during the holidays,” Emmons said. “We worked with Lisa. And she identified shoes as a need. Generally when they come into foster care they need shoes.”

Emmons suggested to Wiscomb that they throw a Christmas party for the foster families. It’s set for Dec. 11 at a facility space donated by YarrowBay. Santa Claus will be there handing out presents — a toy for every child as well as a pair of shoes donated by members of the community. Bellevue Square’s giving tree will have tags for toys in Washington state’s foster system.

There will be activities for the children, too, and a buffet from Mitzel’s.

Now all they need are shoes.

“What we’re looking for the community to help us with is to come up with a hundred pairs of shoes for the kids,” Emmons said. “We want to also collect donations of gift cards for those kids who come in right before the party.”

There is a giving tree in the lobby of John L. Scott of Maple Valley with tags for the specific shoes foster children in the area have requested.

Those who want to purchase shoes can also call the real estate office at 425-432-7007. Ask for Kim Emmons or Marney Hadley.

Donations of new socks, underwear and pajamas will also be accepted.

Emmons put out a feeler on Facebook a few weeks ago to see if anyone would be interested in helping. She also put out the call for help using other methods.

The response has been incredible, she said.

“It’s amazing how the community has rallied,” she said. “I’ve always known we have a great community but so many people have stepped up and said, ‘What can I do? Oh, donate a pair of shoes? I can do that. OK. I want to do more.’ Doing this gives people an opportunity to give back.”

Emmons said she hopes this becomes an annual tradition. Given the response she has already received, she said she has a feeling it will become a holiday tradition for both businesses.

“It warms my heart tremendously that people have said, ‘I want to help. What can I do,’” she said.

 

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