Gift of Love: Care Portal

Gift of Love: Care Portal

(KLTV) - It's a busy life for Amber Sanders as a single mom of three. Amber says she is thankful they escaped an abusive situation but being on a fixed income she needed some help. And that's where a state website called the care portal helped connect her need for beds with a local church.
"Coming from where we did and what we've been through and survived it means for my son Donevan, my middle son, because where we came from, he didn't have a bed. He might have had a mattress on the floor on a sleeping bag," mother Amber Sanders said.

First Baptist Church in Whitehouse answered that call with beds for Amber's two boys and daughter. The church is getting ready for a bed build to help even more people in East Texas.
"We have partnered with Hope Haven, which they are a home in Lindale. It's a girls emergency shelter that they are building. We are going to be providing 16 beds for Hope Haven," volunteer coordinator Christi Sowell said.

The care portal is the church and the state working together. There are about 15 churches in East Texas that have access to the Care Portal. A case worker goes into the portal and emails out a need and the churches then see if they can meet it. 
"Our church fell in love with building beds because we've gone to Maldova which is the poorest country in Eastern Europe and gone to orphanages and built beds and so when the Care Portal went live we discovered one of the biggest needs was beds," Sowell said.

But it doesn't stop there. For every bed the church builds, South Side Furniture donates a mattress to go with the bed frame. There is also a group of ladies at the church that help with making bedding.

"They make quilts for us to be able to hand out and they put their little sewers of love emblem on their and we have a lady with in the church and she'll hand make pillow cases," Sowell said.

These are primarily kids that are going into the foster system in what we call fictive kin placement. CPS tries first to find someone close to home a grandmother, aunt or uncle. But a lot of the reason they are not placed in those homes is because they don't have a bed for them and CPS has to pass on them and send them into a foster home.

"Going into these homes and seeing their faces light up with something they can call their own in a desperate situation that they are anyway is beautiful and for lots of the guys and ladies that go in to and help us, It really changes their perspective," volunteer Tony Black said.
"This single ministry is providing a way for these kids to stay closer to home and stay with those families that they know and love them," Black said.

So that more families like Amber can experience the Gift of Love.

The church is having a bed build next Wednesday, November 23rd.  If you are interested in helping out by donating your time or resources please call the First Baptist Church in Whitehouse at 903-839-3333 or you can email Christi Sowell the volunteer coordinator at

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