By BRENNA GRITEMAN
Christmas will be all the merrier for 43 local foster children who will be gifted with brand new bicycles and helmets.
The gift is a project of the nonprofit The Beam of Light, though founder Stephanie Parsons notes that it was made possible through the generosity of others.
“The blessing of this all is it wasn’t just The Beam of Light,” Parsons says. “I’m just so humbled.”
Bicycles were purchased in part by Jay Kiesel’s Life group at Gateway Church, and helmets were purchased by the Kiwanis Club of Findlay. Management at the Trenton Avenue Walmart ordered the bikes and helped assemble them for free, even bringing in extra staff to have the bicycles ready in time for Christmas.
Parsons says the collaboration is enough to supply a bicycle and helmet to every foster child over age 3 served by Hancock County Job and Family Services.
“How giving our community is and how generous our community is. It’s just amazing,” Parsons says.
She founded the agency in February, with the goal of serving the local foster community. As a licensed foster parent herself, Parsons found a desperate need to better equip foster parents with the things needed to care for children of all ages.
“Basically as a foster parent … nothing can prepare you for the call in the middle of the night and you’re asked to come pick up a child,” she says.
Children often leave a situation with nothing but the clothes on their back, and need to be in school the very next day. Parsons founded The Beam of Light to help create a support system for foster parents, and to help shine a light on a system that can be hard to navigate.
Past initiatives have included Project Eli, which created supply boxes for foster parents of newborns; Project Chris, which assembled gift bags with encouraging letters and gift cards for foster parents; and Project Alex, which provided foster parents with five outfits for their child within 24 hours of placement.
More information about The Beam of Light is available through its Facebook page, The Beam of Light Findlay.