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The Moses Basket: Bridging a Gap in Foster Care

Sisters Kristen Beck and Lacey Baker have a soft place in their hearts for children placed in foster and relative care. Some of their compassion developed when they were kids, having heard stories of their father’s adoption from an orphanage in the 1960s.

“In every child in the system, I see my dad,” Beck says. “Had it not been for our grandparents taking that chance, our paths would have been altered.”

Beck and Baker were inspired by their father, as well as a Bible story that he loved. Found in Exodus 4: 10-11, the infant Moses was placed in a basket, and ultimately saved from destruction as a result of his mother’s faith that God would rescue him and use him for God’s good purposes.

As the sisters’ desire to serve displaced children grew, they sought the advice of social service agencies in the Marshall and McCracken County communities to find out how they could help. Through these conversations, they began to see the unmet needs of children and receiving families in Western Kentucky, including the need for more accessible resources for relatives caring for displaced children.

Relatives receive limited support for taking children into their homes, including court-ordered child support, medical cards, WIC, food stamps, temporary financial assistance, and a one-time benefit to assist with furniture or other needs.

“While that sounds like a bounty of assistance, there are tons of hoops and issues that come with those forms of help,” Marshall County social worker Sarah Andrus says. “The people who open their doors and hearts to these very vulnerable children need all the assistance and appreciation they can get.”

Feeling called to action, the sisters began collecting donations and gifts that could be used by foster and relative care families. They opted out of gifts for their youngest children’s first birthday parties and asked that donations be added to a storage unit of items they began to accumulate for Western Kentucky families providing homes for displaced children.                                                                                                            This past July, the women launched a non-profit organization called The Moses Basket. The organization provides much-needed resources to foster and relative care families receiving children into their homes for the first time, as well as to families with on-going needs.

Families can log onto the organization’s website and request a basket, which is filled with age-appropriate items for the child whom they are receiving. They can also submit “wish lists” that may include items that would not be contained in a traditional Moses basket, such as equipment, gear, cribs, car seats, highchairs and other essential items.

Baker and Beck then verify placement with the social service agencies and work to fulfill the list as quickly as possible.

“We try to meet specific needs,” Beck says. “After speaking with the social workers in our area, we learned that the needs of children from fourth grade through high school often slip through the cracks. So, we work to supply things that aren’t being given elsewhere.”

While fulfillment often comes in the form of basic necessities, there are additional items that Beck and Baker try to make available to the older children in order to allow them a more fulfilling adolescent experience.

“Many kids miss out on things like going to prom, getting yearbooks, or having a nice, new outfit for elementary and middle school graduation because their placement families don’t have the resources to buy these things,” Beck says. “While not necessities, these are all part of the childhood and adolescent experience and we want kids to be able to enjoy them, just as we did.”

Something that breaks the hearts of these sisters is the lack of foster families available to foster children in Western Kentucky. Some of these children have been uprooted from their birth families and sent as far away as West Virginia, making the transition to a new family and community even more complex and difficult.

The sisters are humble about their work, stating that they simply desire to help families as they are able to do so.

“This is something we can do,” Baker says. “It’s a small thing we are doing compared to what foster families do.”

In the short time since The Moses Basket was established, social workers and receiving families have been blessed by the work Baker and Beck perform in the community.

 “The Moses Basket organization allows for those needs that have gone unmet for years to be filled. By having another organization and their volunteers reach out to these children who are having a very difficult (time), the children see that they matter to others and that others care about them,” says Andrus.

Those wishing to donate to The Moses Basket can submit financial donations online at New and gently used items can be dropped off at Trover’s Outdoors in Paducah, iKids in Draffenville and Pathway Baptist Church in Calvert City.

For more information and current news, follow The Moses Basket on Facebook.


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