Right now in Horry County, there are 211 children in foster care, but only 105 local homes for them.
“This means that many children are placed out of the area and have to change schools, be separated from friends, and have to travel for family visits … many older children are placed in group homes,” said Brenda Major, with the Horry County Foster Parents Association (HCFPA).
The NO MORE Foundation and All Pro Dads is partnering with a local Conway church in to help mobilize the community to care for at-risk children with a new event this weekend, which aims to help families who are on the fence about fostering make their decision.
On Sunday, Nov. 3 at 5 p.m., the public is invited to Ekklesia Christian Church at 2469 Highway 501 East for the No More Orphans event.
The free two-hour event will host local bands, personal stories, experts in the field, an artist, and a spoken word poet. The first 200 people who register at https://fornomore.org/ekklesia/ will receive free food.
“Our goal is to put as many faces to the need as possible, and to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to connect to what is needed and respond to that need with action. We want every person who comes to the event, whether they are in college, retired, or any stage of life in between, to see how they can personally make a difference in the life of a child,” said Tami Ken, co-founder of NO MORE.
Sponsored by Ekklesia Christian Church and the HCFPA, organizers hope the event will encourage others to help where they can.
“The need is great in Horry County to provide good homes, care, and resources,” said Coleen Sweat, vice president of the HCFPA. “Everyone can make a difference in the life of a child. It is our hope that more people will step up, so there will be NO MORE orphans.”
Stacey Vines, an Ekklesia Christian Church member helping to coordinate the event, said that the goal of the experience is that the community would find simple and tangible ways to partner with foster families even if they themselves aren’t in a position to open their homes.
Vines said the church has a number of foster and adoptive families in their congregation.
“We’re excited – its right in our wheelhouse. To hear they wanted to come and be with us is a huge honor,” Vines said.
NO MORE estimates on their Web site that there are 143 million orphans in the world today, and close to 500,000 children in the U.S. foster care system. That equates, they said, to thousands of children in communities everywhere who are in need of support.