Six hundred and twenty foster children — That’s how many children Caring About Kids (CAK) works with. The number is equal to two elementary schools full, and that’s just in Ingham County.
CAK was founded in 1994 and is run entirely by volunteers. The organization was created as a result of some foster children missing out on opportunities. Families taking in children do not always have enough money to send their foster kids on field trips or to the prom and may not have the funding for other items such as laptops or iPods.
“Being run by volunteers is both a blessing and hard work,” said Melissa Threadgould, vice president at CAK. “We are able to work with no overhead costs, no paid positions, it is all people donating their time whether they are doing it along with their work or are retired.”
Volunteers and donations make it possible for CAK to take groups of children to camps, horseback riding, bowling and many other things they have never done before. “It is possible for us to approve up to $600 worth of funding for these families and foster kids,” Threadgould said.
On Dec. 9, CAK is throwing an invite-only holiday party for the foster children at Hawk Hollow. Dinner will be provided and children will receive gifts from a special visitor. “We try to get the kids what they would like. They are so thankful to be receiving gifts, many of the children even say ‘it’s not even my birthday and I get a present?’ It is so wonderful knowing that we are making a huge impact on their lives,” says Threadgould.
CAK doesn’t just give to children around the holidays. They are open to the “just because” type of gifts. “It is just the same as if it were ‘your child’. If they want something and deserve it, you buy it for them. The foster children don’t always have someone who can do that for them, so if we can provide if for them ‘just because’ it makes it all the more special,” Threadgould said.
Money for these opportunities comes from hard work. CAK receives money through grants and donations from bake sale events, ice cream socials and 50/50 raffles that places like FIA Grand Towers hold for them. A recent jazz fundraiser with professor Rodney Whitaker at the Hannah Community Center raised more than $10,000.
If you would like to volunteer or donate, visit
www.caringaboutkidsinc.org or call 517-485-2646.
“If people have ideas we would love to hear them. We are looking for even the smallest things that people can do such as bottle collecting,” said Threadgould. “Things add up and if someone has an idea for a fundraiser they can run it by CAK and see if we can put it on. New people bring new ideas and we are thrilled about anything we can get.”