On August 18th and 19th, 2023 the Bloom Closet Express embarked on a momentous journey to Rabun County, Georgia. This marked our first visit to this region, where we had the incredible opportunity to serve not only the local community but also six surrounding counties. Our mission was clear – to provide support and resources to foster families and bring joy into the lives of their children.  

During our time in Rabun County, we were humbled by the stories shared by foster parents. They expressed their frustration at the lack of resources and support available to them. It became evident that these families were facing immense challenges without adequate assistance. Not only are there few resources available, but the existing ones often fall short of meeting their needs. Foster parents struggle with limited access to essential items such as clothing, toys, and educational materials for their foster children. This scarcity not only affects the well-being of these children but also places an additional burden on already overwhelmed caregivers. The Bloom Closet Express aims to bridge this gap by providing a wide range of necessities for foster families in need.  

The gratitude expressed by both parents and children was heartwarming and reinforced our commitment towards making a lasting impact in their lives. Among the many impactful stories from this trip, one that particularly stands out involves a staff member who was assisting a group of foster children in selecting new clothes. As the children excitedly picked out their outfits, one child hesitated and turned to our staff member with a touching request. She asked if she could exchange her newly chosen clothes for a single stuffed animal. This seemingly simple act revealed the profound impact such small comforts can have on foster children. For many foster children, life is marked by uncertainty and instability. They are often uprooted from familiar surroundings and placed in unfamiliar homes. In this instance, the child recognized that something as ordinary as a stuffed animal could provide her with immense safety and comfort. A stuffed animal or blanket becomes more than just an object; it becomes a source of emotional support.  

In conclusion, our experience in Rabun County shed light on the dire need for increased resources and support for foster families. The Bloom Closet Express will continue its mission across Georgia, striving to make a difference one child at a time. Overall, we were overjoyed to be able to share our resources and support through the Bloom Closet Express and hope to revisit Rabun County in the future.  

By Matison McDaniel, Program Associate

Hello, my name is Matison McDaniel and I am a Program Associate here at Bloom. My primary responsibilities include providing generalized support in multiple areas of the Bloom Closet program: the Volunteer & Donation Center, the Bloom Closet Store, and the Bloom Closet Express (BCX) store-on-wheels. I am just shy of my five-month mark at Bloom and have thoroughly enjoyed soaking up every bit of knowledge and experience. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside dedicated individuals who share my passion for serving children in foster care and I look forward to continuing my journey at Bloom. 

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