Mission & History
Feeding the Foster began in our kitchen when my sister and I, both Tarpon Springs High School students, began providing meals for foster children. We knew many of the kids who lived at the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch from attending Safety Harbor Middle School and growing up in this neighborhood. In an effort to get Bright Futures volunteer hours and serve the community, this service project was born. We have learned so many valuable lessons in forming this corporation: fundraising, advertising, as well as the expense that comes with the day to day operations, shopping and meal preparations. We hope that our exposure will grow, and we will gain supporters, volunteers, and raise awareness for the needs of the foster families.
Growing up in an Italian household, food was always a symbol of love. My grandparents fed us constantly. They cooked and we ate. Every holiday, celebration, event was centered around the meal. Family ate together. We always sat at the table, prayed, and talked. Everyone shared their high points and low points of the day. We listened to each other and supported one another while enjoying a meal.
These two traditions are missing in so many homes today. One way we can improve the foster care system is by helping the foster families get back to the traditions of family mealtime. This mission of Feeding the Fosters alleviates some of the financial burdens on the household and provides more quality time for adults to spend with the children, instead of grocery shopping and daily meal preparation. Having a hot, nutritious supper delivered at mealtime is a welcomed gift to any family. It also provides the gift of time spent together in food and fellowship; Time to communicate and share with each other.
My sister and I began by cooking for the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch cottages weekly over the summer. The homemade meals such a baked ziti, chicken and potatoes, and vegetable quiche were delivered hot at supper time and the family could relax and enjoy it together.
Over the summer we decided to invite our local friends to help us with the mission of Feeding the Fosters. We created a Facebook page and many people signed up to cook and provide a meal; more surprisingly, many foster families asked if they could be included in getting a dinner. In April 2019 we became a not for profit. We are currently serving over 20 families for a total of over 160 individual meals per night. We are feeding all age groups from babies to grandparents. This ongoing mission has become more than serving food but offering fellowship and prayers to the foster families as well. Many businesses, restaurants, and cleaning services have contacted us to help become involved in supporting foster families. Our goal is to continue adding at least one foster family per month and to grow our volunteers; Currently, we have about 1100 followers.
The outpouring and generosity of support has been overwhelming and very much appreciated. The foster children have enjoyed the variety of different foods and their caretakers are grateful for the extra time they can dedicate to the kids, without worrying about preparing a meal.