As we venture into a brand new year, we want to send a huge, heartfelt thank you to all of you who helped make 2018 our best year yet! Whether you volunteered with us, made a Hope Pack (or heaps of Hope Packs), held a drive to collect most-needed items, organized an office fundraiser, or donated to Carrying Hope, we want you to know your support has allowed us to positively impact the lives of thousands of foster children in and around Austin and the families caring for them. As we bid farewell to 2018 and say hello to 2019, we are grateful for each one of you whose support has allowed our small, volunteer-run nonprofit to accomplish some very big things! Here are some highlights from 2018:
· We distributed more than 2,000 Hope Packs.
· We expanded our distribution to areas including Houston, Hillsboro, New Braunfels, Fort Worth, Killeen, Waco and Bastrop.
· We introduced Hope, our adorable life-sized mascot, and launched our Hope’s Heroes volunteer program that allows kids to help other kids and make a positive difference in our community.
· We grew our corporate outreach programs, hosting numerous large-scale drives including an event with Spreetail that resulted in 400 Hope Packs.
· We held 25 volunteer events throughout Austin, mobilizing community members from across Central Texas.
· We partnered with dozens of offices, schools and daycares for holiday giving projects.
· We connected new foster families with Austin nonprofits that provide additional resources spanning gift cards to free music lessons.
· We filled individual Hope Pack requests from CASA Travis, which speaks up for children who have been abused or neglected.
· We held a successful first-ever gala last February that helped us accomplish many of these milestones, and we hope you will join us at our second annual Fostering Love Gala on February 21.
On a personal note, 2018 was also a year of growth and change for our co-founders. Rachel will soon be adopting two young children whom she’s loved and cared for as a foster mom for more than a year; Mauri has continued to serve as a CASA advocate, helping give a voice to children in our community who have been abused and neglected; and this summer Kristin accepted her fifth foster care placement of a 6-year-old little girl whom she met, of all places, while making a delivery for Carrying Hope. To all of you who have helped to improve the lives of children in the foster care system in Central Texas, we thank you, and we are proud to be in the trenches with you.