Borrowed Hearts to help local foster parents


JASPER — Local foster parents will soon have another resource at their disposal.

Borrowed Hearts is an Evansville nonprofit that helps foster parents and other caregivers receive supplies needed to care for the children who are in need of services through the Department of Child Services. And thanks to local women Linda Bawel, Sandy Duncan and Lori Wigand, the nonprofit is opening a location in Jasper.

Borrowed Hearts operates like a second-hand store, but distributes donations free of charge. It works like this: the organization collects donations of gently used clothing for children of all ages, new baby bottles and pacifiers, packs of diapers and other items children need, and puts them in the store. Then, foster parents, relatives who have had a child placed with them, DCS, or CASA workers can get the items needed for the children.

“Anything a foster family might need, they can come and get,” Wigand said.

The women first got the idea to open a store a few years ago when Wigand and her husband were thinking about becoming foster parents. During that process, Wigand learned how calls looking for a placement for a child come at any time, even in the middle of the night, and foster parents never know what age or gender the child will be until the call comes. Then, they have to get everything the child would need.

Although the Wigands did not become foster parents, children in need of services and the people who care for them remained a group they wanted to help. When Duncan asked Wigand — who has two sons — if Wigand had any clothing that would fit a foster child Duncan recently took in, Wigand thought again about how to provide a service where foster parents could get everything they need in one place at little to no cost. When she heard about Borrowed Hearts in Evansville, that seemed like the perfect model, so she called the organization. They were happy to help, and in no time, the frame work for Borrowed Hearts Dubois County was up and going.

“We decided to open up a sister store,” Wigand said. “They [Borrowed Hearts Evansville] know what’s working and what’s not.”

Wigand said the organizers knew local people were driving to the Evansville Borrowed Hearts location to get supplies, so they knew there was a need. Data from the DCS also shows the need for such a service. In January 2020, Dubois County alone had 66 children in need of services from DCS. In Region 17 — which includes Dubois, Spencer, Crawford, Daviess, Martin, Orange and Perry counties — there were 551 total children in need of services in January. When Borrowed Hearts Dubois County opens, Wigand said, it will serve all nearby counties, not just Dubois.

While Borrowed Hearts Dubois County waits for renovations at the physical location — 1220 Power Drive, Jasper — to finish, the organization is collecting donations at drop-off locations at Legacy Living and Tri-Cap in Jasper, Ireland Elementary in Ireland, Tri-County YMCA in Ferdinand and Debra Corn Agency in Winslow. The organization is also looking for volunteers to help move into and operate the store. Those interested can contact Wigand at 812-631-9341.

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