An extraordinary commitment, exceptional in supporting people, quick to respond, goes above and beyond, willing to help everyone, remarkable and thoughtful, loving caring and concerned
These were just some of the thing said about Nonprofit of the year winners The CALL at the Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce 2021 Annual Meeting last Monday night May 24.
The CALL is a non-profit organization started in 2007 in Pulaski County, Arkansas that helps local churches serve the children and youth placed in foster care in their communities.
“We provide a way for Christians to invite the mission field into their homes, to serve those most vulnerable in their communities,” their website says. “Our hope is to see a day where there are no children in Arkansas waiting for families because what children and youth in foster care need most is a family to care for them as they heal from abuse or neglect.”
The CALL works with the Division of Children and Family Services to help recruit, train and support those children and teens who are in foster and adoptive families. By 2010, the organization started expanding across the state and now serve 44 of the 75 counties in Arkansas.
“The goal is to eventually be active in all 75 counties in the state, so that whenever and wherever a child comes into foster care, that child will not have to be sent off to another county, but will find a welcoming foster home in their own community,” their website says. “Families recruited by The CALL make up over half of all foster families in the state. Since 2007, these families have cared for over 10,000 children, and created forever families for over 800 children.”
Hempstead County County Coordinator Dixie Coffee was surprised by the organization winning the award this year.
“We are exceptionally grateful to be recognized by this community for the volunteer work we are doing,” she said.
According to Coffee, an average of 20 children a day go into foster care in the state of Arkansas and at the meeting she told the stories of three recent children that she got to help with.
“There was a newborn baby in Wadley Hospital that last year during COVID one of our foster families took home from the hospital because the new baby did not have a home to go to,” Coffee said.
She also told the story of a 17-year-old boy from Northeast Arkansas who was removed from his home recently and brought to Hempstead County with only six weeks left of high school to complete.
“He came here without clothes, without books, without anything, but we had a foster family that took him in and we were able to provide everything he needed,” she said. “He has graduated high school and this Foster family has taken him back to his school for prom and for graduation.”
Finally, she told the story of three siblings from Hope that were recently taken from their families but were afraid of having to leave the town they grew up in.
“One was a senior and wanted to graduate and they also had a job here in Hope,” Coffee said. “One of our Foster Families stepped up to the plate and took all three children in and The Call has been able, through the churches and community, to help this family take care of them through the end of the school year.”
But Coffee shared a happy ending to the story that happened just hours before they won the award.
“Today on my door step, a cousin came and said she was going to step up and take the three children into her home,” she said.
Coffee says that it is her goal to speak for the children that may feel helpless without their family and that she and The CALL wouldn’t be able to do what they do without the help of the community.
“I’m speaking for those children who cannot speak for themselves, that who, through no fault of her own, are in foster care,” she said. “This community has truly stepped up to the plate and for that we are grateful.”