Children are entering the foster care system in Indiana from cases of “poverty neglect” every day. When we refer to “poverty neglect”, we are talking about parents who are working tirelessly to provide for the needs of their child but still come up short.
We believe that no child should be removed from their biological parents simply because they are born into poverty. This is the reason that Hands of Hope has become the Implementing Partner of CarePortal in Indiana bringing an innovative, online platform to the front line of child welfare.
How does it work? Department of Child Services case workers uncover critical needs. CarePortal makes local churches aware, giving them a real-time opportunity to respond. Since launching the platform earlier this year, we have seen countless stories of God meeting families in crisis at just the right time through the local church.
Nicki Meneley first heard about CarePortal through a fellow member of Common Ground Northeast, Vanessa Wilkins. Nicki knew right away that she wanted to get involved. It originally appealed to their congregation because it was a program that was flexible and manageable for a smaller church to be part of.
Since taking the lead of the CarePortal platform at her church, Nicki has helped deliver many requests including providing bedding, school uniforms, extermination assistance and many more. Some of these deliveries have been simply dropping the items off at the door while others have transformed into lasting relationships between the families and Common Ground Northeast volunteers.
One of the deliveries that stands out to Nicki is a request for a new school uniform for a 16-year-old young man. Nicki took her two children with her to meet the family at the store and together the two families shopped for the upcoming school year. The mother was very thankful for the churches generosity and the young man was ecstatic that he was ready for the start of classes. But what stands out to Nicki when she thinks of that delivery were the questions that her children had on the way home about the experience they had just been part of.
“They had lots of questions when we got back into the car. I explained to them that God blesses us so much and today we are pouring blessing onto others. I want them to be involved and to learn from this experience.”
Many people who are not being called to be foster parents wrestle with finding what their role is in supporting vulnerable children in their community. Nicki explains that CarePortal gave their church a tangible way to be the hands and feet of Christ to children and an opportunity where everyone can do something to help. For Nicki, the CarePortal platform also gave her the opportunity to work with other churches in the area.
“It has been really fun to get to know the leaders from the other churches. I love being part of the team. It is neat to work together on a request and help provide the final piece to the puzzle.”
CarePortal is bringing the united body of Christ together to make an impact in the lives of vulnerable children in Indianapolis. It is more than a bed or new clothes; it is life transformation for families in our communities.
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