This is an exciting time for GMUW as, effective immediately, we are partnering with the Department of Children & Families to expand the Tatum’s Totes Program to the Newport District. This is in addition to our collaboration with DCF in the Barre District.
Conversations with the DCF Resource Coordinator in the Newport office have indicated to both of us that children and youth in foster care in that area are in just as desperate need of personal items as in the rest of the state. Many are placed in foster homes without advance warning, arriving with only the clothes on their backs.
To provide just a bit of security and self-confidence for these children and youth, the Tatum’s Totes Program was born in Rutland by a couple who lost a baby son to SIDS and then decided to become foster parents. Seeing firsthand how little the foster child they took in arrived with, they took it upon themselves to work with the Rutland District DCF office and start the program. Backpacks, tote bags or diaper bags are filled with personal hygiene items, age-appropriate clothing, a fuzzy blanket, and stuffed animal, diapers and some games and given to the child before being moved to a new home – something he can call his own.
Donations of money and new items to put in the backpacks are being accepted for this expanded program in the Northeast Kingdom. GMUW is eager to help children transition into foster homes with as little fear and worry as possible. We welcome your support and calls to our Derby Line office at 802-647-2148 or our Barre office at 802-745-0101. A full description of this program and the items being collected for the backpacks can be found at www.gmunitedway.org/blog/green-mountain-united-way-leads-tatums-totes-effort/.