Toys, clothes, diapers and almost everything you need to care for foster children are in the cupboards of the PS I Love You® Ministries in Spartanburg.
There are times when Spartanburg Social Services has to remove children from dangerous situations in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their backs.
This is what makes the mission of PS I Love You® Ministries so important. They cater to both the physical and emotional needs of foster children and families. The faith-based organization was founded in 2009 by Kay and Tyler Kirby.
“PS I love you to me is more than a closet,” said Danielle Henry, a local foster mother. “When you do your nursing training, you are told that you need a village of people to stand by and support you, and that’s exactly what PS I Love You does.”
Henry said the department also provides emotional support. “It comes in and sits in the closet floor for an hour just talking because that’s what you need that day,” she said. “To speak to someone who understands the difficulties foster parents face on a daily basis.”
According to Josie Jones, DSS director for Spartanburg County, 185 children are currently in foster care.
By the numbers
The ministry looked after 440 children in various ways in 2019. COVID-19 didn’t slow them down in 2020 as they cared for 757 children. Like many companies and nonprofits, they adapted during the pandemic.
“While we closed our doors to people coming into the closet,” said managing director Kay Kirby. “We never stopped serving our foster families.”
The organization recently moved to a facility on Metro Drive in Spartanburg that has a long, covered porch for deliveries and collections. While the foster families were unable to enter due to COVID-19 restrictions, the staff and volunteers walked through the closet for the families and delivered items to their cars.
As of January, the ministry has looked after 272 children with 19 new families visiting the wardrobe.
PS I Love You Ministries serves 16 different counties and does not refuse anyone. The department has served children in North Carolina and recently Colorado and Oklahoma through kinship care internships – referring to the care of children by relatives or, in some cases, close friends of the family.
“We need more and more foster families,” said Jones. “Spartanburg County is also accepting children from other counties. If an Abbeville County case manager needs a nursing home and doesn’t have a nursing home available, they can call nursing homes in other counties.”
PS I love Ministries’ goal of being a “father of the fatherless”.
PS I Love You Ministries is on a mission to improve the lives of foster children. Her goal is to show God’s heart in Psalm 68: 5 to be a “father of the fatherless”. That desire was fueled by Kay and Tyler Kirby’s own experience as foster parents.
Kay Kirby says the care and care system looked very different from when she and her husband started caring for children in Spartanburg County 18 years ago. They adopted two children from the Spartanburg care system.
“The lack of resources we had as foster parents gave me the heart, desire, and passion to help foster parents who were in the same position as us,” said Kay Kirby. “It is really difficult when a child comes into care with nothing and you have to have everything they need ready within 24 hours. Because of our lack of resources, God called our families to reach out and help other families. “
Meeting the needs of the child and foster families
When a child or teenager first comes into foster care and visits PS I Love You Ministries, they will receive:
- Care bag (contains toiletries, Bible, blanket, small toys, etc.)
- 7 pants, 10 tops and 1 dress outfit
- 2 pairs of pajamas
- 1 pair of shoes
- 1 pack of new socks
- 1 pack of new underwear
- 1 coat / jacket
- 1 toy and 1 stuffed animal (age-appropriate)
The ministry also hosts several events each year that benefit foster families and children and support foster families, such as: B. Meetings, gift cards, gas tickets, and family evening tickets at local venues.
The next step for the organization is to provide more opportunities to meet the emotional needs of foster children and their families.
“We are looking for ways to advise foster families. Advice for the kids, ”said staff member Susan Renard. “We are constantly looking for new ways to do this for the families who deal with children who have been subjected to trauma every day. We started by meeting the children’s physical needs. Now we want to meet the emotional needs as well. “
How can you help
When asked how the ward can support the ministry, Kirby focuses on focusing on the children she serves on a daily basis.
“Spartanburg County needs more foster families,” she said. “Awareness of the need for more foster families and the need for children to be cared for with nothing. Not everyone can promote, but everyone can do something.”
May is national grooming month. Visit https://dss.sc.gov/child-well-being/foster-care/ for more information on how to become a licensed foster parent.
Ashley Dill is from Spartanburg and has worked for the Herald Journal for 14 years. She reports on community news and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @ashleydill_shj.
Comments are closed.