Jessica Reese, a Franklin County High School and Grace College graduate, is working hard to meet a major need within the Franklin County community and surrounding areas. 

The need which she is putting much effort into meeting is the need for a place within the community where foster families can take their foster children to get many personal items which they may need, and it will be free of charge.  Reese is in the process of meeting this need by establishing a nonprofit organization known as The Village Foster Care Closet.

Having been part of a fostering family for more than thirteen years, Reese is very aware of the challenges which foster children and foster care families face when it comes to having all of the necessary clothing and personal items for each foster child.  However, at the beginning of this year, Reese did some research which forced her to be even more aware of the reality of the challenges which foster families face.  

During an interview, Reese stated, “I found data showing that over 50 percent of foster care parents quit after their first child placement or after their first year as foster parents which is often due to a lack of support.”

Reese also explained  through her research she found  there is only one organization which provides support to foster families within the local region which encompasses the counties of Franklin, Fayette, Henry, Rush, Union and Wayne.  

After these findings, it was very evident to Reese that something more needed to be provided to foster families. Although the data contributed a bit of an extra push and solidified Jessica's thoughts, she was already very compelled to establish a foster closet due to her passion for helping foster families and acknowledging a calling for her to care for those who are in need.

After giving the idea some thought, Reese recalled mentioning her idea to Kevin Waltz, the pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church where she is a member and youth group leader. Reese jokingly explained once she mentioned her idea to Waltz there was no turning back as he was at the location the next day helping to do some remodeling to the building to get it ready to house The Village Foster Care Closet.

Reese noted the Emmanuel Baptist Church community has been very helpful and generous during the process of getting the foster care closet ready for operations. In addition, she also recognized all of the donations of money, items, and services from Plato's Closet, Thrive Market, Department of Child Services, Prevent Child Abuse, Barada Law Offices, Harrison Fire Departments, Faith Through Grace Ministries, The Cookie Crumb Trail, Abbigail Day remembrance fund, Frankie Stitches and many other entities.  

Through the generous donations from the aforementioned groups and the hard work put forth by Reese along with many volunteers, The Village Foster Closet has a large supply of not only all sizes of clothing and shoes but also other items such as diapers, baby supplies, baby gear, bicycles, backpacks, school supplies, duffle bags, suitcases and personal care products.  These items will be distributed out to foster families, kinship placements and relative placements within Franklin, Fayette, Henry, Rush, Union and Wayne Counties. It is requested that individuals bring their official documents confirming placement in order to gather necessary items from The Village.

At the current time, the organization which is located at 110 S. Main Street, is only open by appointment.  They are currently working on finalizing all of the necessary paperwork to become a nonprofit organization, and they are also in the process of establishing a board of directors.  As soon as all of those steps are completed, then regular hours will be set.  

Although Reese is very focused on the initial stages of the organization at this point, she also has many goals in mind for the future of the organization.  
While planning for the future, Reese spoke of the present moment by saying, “It's so surreal. To have had an idea just in April and to now be open and having served about thirty foster kids even just with our by appointment setting currently seems so crazy.”