A local nonprofit organization that aids children in Michigan’s foster care system has expanded the reach of its mission to also provide assistance to families affected by fires and residents in need.

The Foster Closet of Michigan-Livingston County is an all-volunteer organization that was granted 501(c)(3) status last year. The Fowlerville-based nonprofit provides services, supplies, support and aid to children currently in foster care, those that have been placed outside of the parental homes or have a kinship placement. The group collects new and gently used clothing, shoes, furniture, baby items and toys, with 100% of all items being given to the kids for free.

The organization provides its services mainly to Livingston and Ingham counties, but has also helped residents in Shiawassee and Washtenaw counties. The local branch stems from the Foster Closet of Michigan. Separate branches began to form based on different visions in each region, which led to each county’s branch becoming their own nonprofit. The director for Livingston County’s branch, Danielle DeVries, says that deviation allows them to further their community outreach.

In addition to foster care children, DeVries says Livingston County’s branch now provides aid to underprivileged or at-risk children, adding that it is a preventative measure in order to help families before they’re separated. As part of expanding their mission, Livingston County’s Foster Closet will provide assistance to families devastated by fires and local residents in need, depending on availability and scheduled appointments.

DeVries notes that the nonprofit does not receive any government assistance and is entirely dependent on the community, adding they're “...just trying to take care of the village that takes care of us.” Donations to the organization are tax-deductible and can be dropped off at the Livingston Leather Shop in Fowlerville Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 6pm and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Large items can be dropped off at the Foster Closet by calling ahead.

DeVries encourages anyone looking for additional information to visit the group’s Facebook page. (DK)