BUCKHANNON – Usually when families have a child, they have approximately 40 weeks to prepare for the arrival.
However, for families who help by taking foster children into their homes, sometimes the arrival can be sudden or come in the middle of the night.
Matthew’s Closet, started by Glenda Lewis and husband Lynn Lewis, is meant to help those who are working to help others in need.
Glenda said Matthew’s Closet is a foster closet serving North Central West Virginia where foster parents, adoptive parents and kinship parents may receive assistance with clothing, coats, bottles, toys and other items for children from newborns to 18 years old.
“We have been foster parents for a little more than three years,” Glenda shared. “We wanted a way to continue to give to foster care, and we noticed there have been many requests on social media from foster parents.”
So, the Lewis family decided to put together Matthew’s Closet where families could find needed items.
Glenda said there are foster closet facilities located in Grafton and Clarksburg, so they decided to open one in Buckhannon in order to fulfill a growing need: As the number of youth in the foster care system has grown to more than 7,200 as of earlier this week.
“The name for Matthew’s Closet is Bible-based – we were looking for bible verses related to helping and caring for others, and a lot of them were located in the Book of Matthew,” Glenda said. “That is why we chose the name.”
Glenda said often, children come into foster care families with only the clothes they have on.
“Sometimes, a baby only comes with a diaper,” Glenda said. “A lot of times, kids arrive in the middle of the night. If you get a sibling group or a single child, they can contact us to help get by for a few days until they are able to get to the store to buy clothing, diapers or bottles.”
Those needing aid or assistance from Matthew’s Closet may contact them by calling 304-704-4456 or by sending a message on Facebook.
“People can call and make an appointment,” Glenda said. “We will set up a time that is good for them, and we will meet them to help them get what they need.”
Residents who would like to donate to Matthew’s Closet may also contact them by calling 304-704-4456 or sending a Facebook message. Glenda said right now, the most requested items include cribs, bunk beds, bedding, diapers, bottles, dressers, formula, pajamas, duffle bags, luggage, underwear and socks new in the package and all sizes of clothing.
“We would like clothing to be gently used, clean and in good condition,” she said. “Monetary donations are also accepted. We have a GoFundMe that is on our Facebook Page.”
Another way local folks can help with Matthew’s Closet is to volunteer their time.
“We are looking for volunteers to help sort and organize items,” Glenda said.
Matthew’s Closet is located at 25 Wabash Ave., but please contact the Lewises first to make an appointment. Donations of items may be left at that address.
Glenda said folks can contact Matthew’s Closet at any time.
“If something is needed in the middle of the night, we understand,” Glenda said. “Right now, our Walmart is not open 24 hours so there is no way to get supplies in the middle of the night.”
Additional questions can be emailed to the Lewises at firstname.lastname@example.org.