If you are looking to support foster youth in the United States, make sure to bookmark this feature of the Alone But Not Forgotten Foundation.
One of my goals with Create To Donate is to showcase small nonprofits that might not have the marketing budget or support staff to gain national attention.
And among the issues I focus on most, organizations that help foster youth are a top priority.
Every time I see a story on the news about the difficulties children in foster care face, I am thankful for these organizations and all of the great work they do.
An Interview With The Alone But Not Forgotten Foundation
So today, I want to introduce you to Jennifer Simes-Stephenson and her organization Alone But Not Forgotten Foundation that is located in West Virginia.
Create To Donate: Why did you start the Alone But Not Forgotten Foundation (ABNFF)? What need wasn’t being met in your city/community?
ABNFF: I started the Alone But Not Forgotten Foundation because I know what it is like to be a young person and to feel like you are all alone in the world.
I experienced homelessness as a teenager and also became pregnant during that time.
Truthfully, I probably should have ended up in the system. However, I had some very special people that helped me along the way.
Today I have completed a bachelor’s degree and a masters in legal studies. My son has completed a degree in Japanese language and business.
I am working in a profession and at a job that is my dream.
My son and I were both supposed to be statistics, and now it’s my turn to reach back and help someone else.
I am not a native of West Virginia, but when I moved here and decided to make it my home I knew that I had to start a nonprofit to help others.
Create To Donate: Are there specific challenges for foster children in West Virginia that are different from other cities?
ABNFF: In the month of April there were a total of 6,619 children in foster care in West Virginia.
This area has been especially affected by the opioid crisis, because of this West Virginia has been one of the leading states in the number of children in the foster care system per capita for the past several years.
In addition, as of 2019, West Virginia had the fourth-highest poverty rate in the United States and was in the top ten for children in poverty.
The pandemic has only increased these statistics and the strain on families.
Create To Donate: What goals do you have for the holiday season this year for the children you support?
ABNFF: For the holiday season, we have our holiday angel program. our goal for that program this year is to reach 100 children.
We [can always] use hats and gloves.
We have a year-long program called Transitional Bundles. For that program, we need blankets and pillows.
Create To Donate: What items do you need most?
ABNFF: We need blankets and pillows the most. Stuffed pillows or standard-size pillowcases can both be used.
For the blankets any material is fine. We just request they be in plastic packaging or zip lock bags. We can use any size from small to large.
The youngest child we have helped thus far was 2 months old and the oldest child we have helped was 17 years old.
Crafts For A Cause: Easy DIY Blanket Tutorials
Since Jennifer mentioned that they are always in need of blankets for the children they serve, here are some easy blanket tutorials to get you started.
No Sew Double Sided Fleece Blanket.
Fleece blankets are one of the easiest to make and used by people of all ages.
This fleece blanket tutorial walks you through how to make a double sided blanket with fringe.
Free Crochet Afghan Patterns: Sand Pebbles Crochet Square
This afghan blanket is made connecting 10" x 10" squares so it's a great project if you need something you can make while you're on the go.
You can complete a square at a time without having to take too many materials with you or the size of the in-progress blanket getting in the way.
I also like the pebbled textured for people who like a little extra sensory experience with their blanket.
How To Make a DIY, No Sew, Stamped Blanket
If you're looking to try your hand at a new approach to blanket making, this no sew stamped blanket would be a super fun project.
You could also make this a family affair!
How To Make A No-Sew Baby Blanket
This no-sew fleece blanket tutorial demonstrates how to make a blanket with finished edges.
It's perfect for people who don't like blankets with fringe.
Chunky Knit Blanket Pattern: Using huge Size 50 Needles with VIDEO
Using chunky needles when you knit makes things work up that much faster. I love the approach of doubling up the yarn both from a design perspective and a time saving one.
Easy Fleece Blanket Tutorial
One of the best things about fleece is that it can easily be a stand-alone material. If you are looking to make a batch of blankets to donate very quickly, this approach is one of your best options.
How To Make A Chunky Knit Blanket | Knitting Tutorial
For those of you who want to work with the big needles AND the chunky yarn, here is one knit option.
Donating a blanket using this approach would be both useful and trendy.
How Will You Support Foster Children?
For many years now, there have been far too many days when the stories on the news make it seem like it’s all doom and gloom.
And I would go through bouts of feeling helpless and stumped on how to make a real difference.
Then I had this mini epiphany and came up with a mantra that has helped me: “When you feel helpless, help more.”
This can be as simple as adding one more hour to your schedule where you volunteer.
Or, in my case, continuing to determine, develop, and share handmade tutorials that will benefit nonprofits and community organizations.
When I combine those tutorials with blog features of organizations that need handmade goods, I feel it can make a real impact.
So, I am really happy to get the word out about Jennifer’s Alone But Not Forgotten Foundation.
Share The Goods
If there is a nonprofit or community organization in your area that would benefit from a Create To Donate feature, please contact me so that I can learn more about them and their needs .