The Fostering Collective new expansion soon to offer more services for foster families in East Texas

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Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 10:25 AM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It’s a new year and a new space for an organization serving East Texas foster families. The Fostering Collective is in the process of renovating their new office and resource center in Tyler.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to be able to share this with people,” said TFC Executive Director Justin Hayes.

It was back in April 2019, The Fostering Collective was created by Hayes and his co-founder Christie Sowell. The project was born out of their previous mission, The East Texas Orphan Care Network.

Since the beginning of 2020, TFC has been operating out of a donated warehouse in Whitehouse. The building was primarily a space for their “Collective Closet.” Families who are placed with foster children are able to access the closet and take new items they need, free of charge. That includes clothing, shoes, personal hygiene items, car seats, toys and more.

That same closet can be found in their new space off South Broadway in Tyler. But with significantly more square footage, TFC is finding new ways to bring their mission of faith and community to life.

“So they may come for the physical needs like clothes and diapers and car seats, but then we can help equip them with other needs that they might have to help with the children’s behavior, to help with the children’s attachment,” said Hayes.

Hayes tells us, in addition to more office space, they’ll have a place for families to seek refuge when they need a wide range of resources from child to parent.

“This room will actually become kind of more of a living room feel, where we can do some meetings,” Hayes explained as he walked through a room in progress.

The $400,000 dollar down payment was made possible by East Texas churches, businesses, individuals and organizations. Some of those donors are also committed to monthly payments to ensure this service stays available to families.

“It allows us to reach so many more people,” said TFC Ministry Coordinator Laura Miller. “Traffic in the closet has increased quite a bit since we’ve been in this location, so it allows us to meet those needs. It also allows donors to find us.”

The Fostering Collective wants this new chapter to be a reminder that fostering a child is possible and support is available for these families.

“We wanted to be a location where we can visit with them, we can encourage them... just offer hope and to be able to thrive as a family,” said Hayes.

The Collective closet is open now. A grand opening for the full facility is expected this Spring.

For more information on The Fostering Collective, click here.