One of the biggest misconceptions about fostering, according to foster parent Angela Bischoff of Shepherdsville, is that foster parents make a lot of money. They don’t. In fact, the money provided for kids’ care often doesn’t cover everything a parent needs, let alone extras like family outings or sports. That’s one reason Bischoff started a clothes closet out of her garage in 2014—just to lend a hand to other foster parents doing their best to make a difference.
Along with volunteers, like foster mom April Pieper of Frankfort, Bischoff began by hosting swaps and delivering clothing, driving up to an hour to supply families who had gotten a new placement. In 2017, another foster mom, Jennifer Mortenson, joined Bischoff to co-found Hope’s Closet.
“She said, ‘We’ve got to get this out of your garage,’” Bischoff remembers. “‘We’ve got to get this on the road or in a storefront.’”
Today, Hope’s Closet is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in a storefront on Taylorsville Road in Louisville. Staffed by volunteers, Hope’s Closet serves more than 100 kids each weekend, enabling families to shop every 60 days, for free, for items they need. Anyone with court paperwork, including relatives caring for a child, is welcome to shop. Additionally, the store has no geographic requirements. Bischoff says some families travel up to four hours to shop.
“It’s all about kiddos—making these kiddos happy and helping these foster families and adoptive families and relatives,” Bischoff says. “It’s helping free up funds for those families to go do other things, like sign them up for baseball or go to zoo, go out to eat.”
In addition to providing items for families, Hope’s Closet organizes several events each year, including a Christmas event, a prom for teens and a back-to-school event.
“Hope’s Closet is a big resource for us,” Pieper says. “It means all the world to some of our families.”
Hope’s Closet is 100% donation-based and welcomes new and gently used donations. The best way to check needed items and clothing sizes is to visit Hope’s Closet on Facebook: Hope’s Closet Kentucky.
To learn more about volunteering or offering financial support, visit www.hopesclosetky.com.