Jennifer’s Story

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Christian Post: Fashion Boutique and Christian Ministry Helping Hundreds of Girls in Foster Care

Photo Credit: Christian Post

If a room of teenage girls with two supportive and loving parents were asked to list the belongings they have stored in their bedroom closets, many would likely name more items than they can hold in their hands.

However, if a room of teenage girls transitioning into foster care were similarly asked to name the worldly items they have in their possession, many would be unable to form a list beyond the clothes on their backs.

While the most important needs of the 191,000 teenage girls in foster care in the United States are food, shelter, and a sense of security and guidance from a loving family, a Christian ministry in Florida is providing a different unmet need.

In Tampa, a Christian ministry and fashion boutique called Loft 181 are addressing the dire need for clothing among hundreds of foster girls.

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Real Clear Florida: Florida's Foster System: Remember Those in Need When Giving

Children growing up in foster care, sadly, often find it a confusing and tumultuous existence. On top of the difficult circumstances that lead to their separation from their families, they’re thrust into a new environment and a world of uncertainty. This is the unfortunate reality for the nearly 400,000 children in foster care in the United States today, but community collaboration can make a difference for these children.

Thirteen years ago, motivated by the belief that every child is valuable well beyond birth and regardless of their circumstances, we asked guardians, attorneys and other foster care advocates where the biggest needs were for foster children. Again and again, the response we heard was clothing. In fact, it is such a big need that children often come into a foster home with only the clothes on their backs.

So using space in our church, we collected and sorted clothes with the goal of serving the 181 teenage girls in Florida’s Hillsborough County foster system at that time, and incorporating that number into our name, Loft 181 was established.

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