Angels’ Arms is an organization created for the purpose of enriching the lives of children in the foster care system by keeping siblings together. Children are often placed into foster care because they need to be removed from a specific home situation, and time is of the essence. Most foster homes are not able to accommodate a sibling group. The advantages of keeping siblings together in foster care are well documented; the ability to accommodate multiple children on short notice is a key part of the Angels’ Arms mission. Sibling groups are placed together within a loving environment and kept together until a forever home is found for them. They become part of a safe, nurturing family and learn to trust again. This family provides the children with the stability they need to grow into upstanding citizens.
The foster parents living in our homes are not paid a salary by Angels’ Arms and must provide for their entire family’s expenses—including utilities, food, clothing, etc. They do receive a minimal allowance for each child per month from the state, however, this amount does not even cover the basics needed for the children—like food and clothing. These parents are like any other family trying to make ends meet each and every month. They undertake foster parenting because they feel a calling to do so and they create strong, caring families for the children. They allow foster children to become part of a real family—one that will provide them with the unconditional love that they may never have experienced.
In return for this commitment from the foster parents, they are allowed to live in Angels’ Arms homes for a nominal rent. As part of the larger family, Angels’ Arms is responsible for mortgage payments and maintenance of the homes so these families can continue to live there. Angels’ Arms receives NO STATE, FEDERAL OR UNITED WAY FUNDING.
While Angels’ Arms continues to support these homes, we are always mindful of the need to add more homes in order to help more children in the foster care system. Through generous donations, numerous fundraisers and grants we have worked to acquire, we strive to stay on top of our expenses.
But the houses are just the beginning of what we provide for our children. Our goal is to give these children a “childhood.” We want them to be free to be kids! Not only do they need food, clothing and a safe place to call home, they deserve to experience life as a child and pursue their dreams. Like any child, they need opportunities and activities…sports, Scouts, dance, music, art, gymnastics, karate, camps…exposing them to a variety of interests that help them develop into well-rounded, involved members of society. Angels’ Arms gives children a chance to believe…in family, in friendship, in love, in themselves!
We continue to develop a network of supporters who assist us with personal care drives, food drives and fundraisers to help us make ends meet. Every donation makes a difference when it comes to helping Angels’ Arms, yet monetary donations are not the only way to give to Angels’ Arms. We always need volunteers and encourage groups, organizations, families and individuals to get involved at Angels’ Arms and experience the joy that comes from helping others. We welcome any type of contribution that you can make to help us continue to support our children.
Angels’ Arms began as a grassroots organization in 2000 with the vision of Founder and Executive Director, Bess Wilfong. Bess rallied support from fellow foster parents, friends, family and educators. After much research, paperwork and fundraising, the first Angels’ Arms home was opened in South County in early 2003. There are now 10 Angels’ Arms homes in St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County. With the help of generous donors and volunteers, we can continue to support our current homes and fulfill the vision of opening additional homes to serve other foster children. We hope to one day to be the national authority on caring for foster children and meeting their needs, so that “our” children can experience the joy and wonder of childhood.