This December, as festive lights adorn houses and iced cookies crowd tabletops, Carrying Hope would like to take a minute to thank you for your support of children who will spend this holiday season without a family to call their own.
Whether you put together a Hope Pack, donated money or supplies that went toward creating them, or volunteered to make a foster child’s life a little merrier over the holidays, we are so very grateful for your generous hearts, effort and time!
Last January, Carrying Hope set of a goal of distributing 1,000 Hope Packs – backpacks filled with everything a child entering the foster care system needs during his or her first 48 hours in care – to foster care agencies and directly to CPS in Central Texas. Thanks to you, we were able to exceed that goal and offer these boys and girls peace and comfort on what might otherwise be the worst day of their lives.
The past year has been filled with highlights. In July, we hosted our annual citywide drive and were blown away as hundreds of attendees helped us fill a moving truck with Hope Packs. In December, we worked with local agencies to coordinate three unique experiences for foster children that ranged from curating personalized Holiday Hope Packs to hosting volunteer stations at a holiday party to shopping for and stuffing 125 stockings that were later handed out by Santa. This year we also expanded our Board of Directors, were spotlighted by local media, participated in Amplify Austin and uncovered new grant opportunities.
On a personal note, it was also a big year for our co-founders. Kristin adopted her 4-year-old son, who had previously spent 625 days in foster care. Rachel became a foster parent and welcomed several children into her home, including the young sibling pair currently with her. And Mauri became a Court Appointed Special Advocate, helping to give a voice to abused and neglected children in Central Texas.
Thanks to you, Carrying Hope is now able to give a Hope Pack to every child entering the foster care system in Travis County, an exciting accomplishment for a small 501c3 nonprofit founded in July 2016. In 2018, we hope to collect at least 1,500 Hope Packs, which would allow us to give one to each child entering foster care in Region 7, which spans from Buda to Killeen. We also hope to work toward getting our own building space that will allow us to expand operations. And on Feb. 15, we’ll be hosting our first-ever gala-style fundraiser; we hope you will mark your calendar.
Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts, and please keep us in mind if you are looking for a meaningful project to take on in the coming year!
Kristin Finan, CEO/President
Mauri Elbel, Co-Founder/Vice President
Rachel Garza, Co-Founder/Creative Director