By Kim Bigler
Founder, James Samaritan
I received a mass email 10 years ago that opened my eyes and changed the trajectory of my life. The email came from a large church requesting a heater for a young lady who had just transitioned out of the foster care system into her own place. It was around Christmas time, and she had no central air and heat. She reached out to the church because she was cold and needed support.
I had just bought a heater for my dog the same day for her space. A fire ignited inside of me. My mind could not wrap around the fact that I was caring for my dog better than the community cared for this young lady while she was growing up in foster care. She had been in the system since the age of 3, and in more than 20 different placements. Now, she is left begging for a heater that a mass email had to go out for. What was the faith community doing? Where were we when she was 3, 13, 17? Where will we be now as she leaves to fend for herself after a lifetime of being unstable in foster care? As I stomped around my living room, I heard a still small voice say, “Kim what are you doing? I want you get the heater.” I have been getting resources to the foster care community ever since.
I started James Samaritan (formerly James Storehouse) to provide for the critical unmet needs in the foster care system. Our 501c3 nonprofit helps to mobilize local communities to wrap around kids and families as their resource and relational support systems. I don’t know any life left more vulnerable than an unwanted life in the womb and those entering into the system due to abuse and neglect. Both need protection and the faith community to rise up on their behalf so their lives aren’t thrown away. The statistics are devastating of the many youth who leave foster without ever connecting to a loving home, or stable connections in their community.
There is a mighty movement happening on behalf of the unborn and those lives who need our voice, our help, and our homes in foster care. Everyone who values LIFE is finding his or her place on the field of child welfare. People are providing beds so that paycheck to paycheck foster parents can pass their home inspections that require them. They are providing uniforms and school supplies to the grandmother becoming the primary caregiver for her grandchildren coming into foster care. Folks are becoming mentors for older youth, and the most urgent and important need… families. Wherever you live, there are front line ministries and organizations helping to bridge community engagement to our kids and families. You can go to Louisiana Fosters at www.louisianafosters.com to see how you can help directly in your area, or to our website www.jamessamaritan.org
As we continue making great strides in protecting the lives of the unborn in our great state of Louisiana, I ask we also turn our attention to the foster care crisis where too many children are coming into the system and not enough families to care for them. We must respond as our pro-life message exhorts us too. I believe Louisiana will lead the way and inspire the nation to value these precious God-given lives which will affect generations to come.