By Rebekah Black
I always wanted to adopt or foster..or was it foster and adopt? I never really knew why God had put a passion in my heart for orphans and honestly, I thought adopting was the only way I could serve these kids. Being a single mom of three myself, it didn’t seem to make sense for me to foster kids in this season of my life. So why was my heart beating for these kids? I would lay in bed at night and think of them. Praying for kids I didn’t even know. Truthfully, I wasn’t even familiar with the whole “social work”, “foster care agency” fostering community. But I couldn’t shake it. I spent many days thinking and praying and doing my best to unpack the details and it became so clear. There are more ways to serve these kids. These foster kids and their families could use a little comfort. I became abruptly aware of the need to serve foster kids as they transition into their new foster homes. I learned that many times these kids arrive to their new families with very few (if any) material possessions.
I knew this was the next step for my life. So I did my research. I started calling on foster parents that I knew, former foster kids (now adults) and DFACS (Department of Family and Children Services) workers. I began asking how I could help and the answers were always consistent. Pajamas.
I learned the staggering numbers coming out of Gwinnett County and Hall County. Over 1,000 kids are currently registered in the system. That’s a lot of kids! That’s a lot of foster families. So, I started where I was with what I had. It wasn’t a lot. But I believed that if I asked my circle of influence; we could make a small difference. I reached out to my small group at church last Fall and asked them to bring brand new pj’s that we could donate to foster kids in our area. I remember thinking “If we can donate 10 pairs; that would be a great donation.” 150 pairs of pajamas later, we made an impact! That’s a huge part of our organization now. Start where you are, use what you have.
Fast forward, I left my full time career to start Jambos, Inc. a non profit that partners with local schools, churches and businesses to bring comfort to these kids. We host pajama drives monthly and in three months have been able to bring in over 1,000 pairs of pajamas.
Jambos exists to bring awareness to the transitions these kids are faced with on a regular basis. Where we understand their journey is for their safety, we also know this could serve as a fairly uncertain and stressful time in their lives. We know the cozy feeling of being home in our jammies and we are determined to give that comfort to these kids. Currently, our organization is serving as a huge fishers net of resources; we are collecting the jammies and then serving other nonprofits as they work directly with foster families, caseworkers, and kids. It’s been an awesome way to help keep clothing closets stocked, duffle bags filled and we have even been able to hand deliver a few pair of jammies here and there.
Our mission is so easy but it shouldn’t be considered small. Yes, currently we are serving Gwinnett and Hall Counties; but we are determined to serve some 14,000 kids in our state alone.