PORTLAND, Ore. — Tonya Daniels and her family have opened their home to foster children in the past eight years. "We’ve taken in probably close to 40 kids in the last eight years," said Daniels. "It’s just been an incredible eye-opening journey for sure."
She says the journey showed her the hardship kids go through as they come into care, often with nothing of their own. What she saw prompted a desire to do more.
"What if there was a way to just give these kids something to take into this new place and sort of ease that transition?” Daniels asked that question to her best friend and twin sister Brandy Memory. Soon after the conversation, the sisters launched Project 48 in October 2019.
The non-profit provides essential items to kids as they come in or transfer within the foster care system. Daniels says the backpacks or duffel bags provided to the kids are full of brand new clothing, shoes and toiletries that are age, gender and culture appropriate.
Project 48 works with multiple organizations including Department of Human Services to meet the needs of foster children across Multnomah and Washington Counties. They have so far delivered hundreds of bags to kids in foster care but COVID-19 has impacted the operation.
"Access to items has been really challenging for us having so many retail businesses is not operational right now," Memory said. But despite the setbacks, the sisters are determined to bring those items to kids one way or another.
When Daniels and her husband became foster parents, they didn’t plan to adopt but that changed 4 and a half years ago. “These identical twin girls were waiting at Randall Children's Hospital to have a foster parent take them home and they were 2 months premature and severely drug-affected.”
They took them in and eventually adopted the twin girls. The twins joined the couple’s three biological kids making for a busy household where the doors are still open to foster kids.
COVID-19 has impacted Project 48 and their mission to support children in foster care. They are accepting brand new item donations from the community.