Georgian mum opens clothing store for foster children after noticing they lacked goods: ‘Break my heart’
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A family in Georgia is opening a free store for children in need after adopting two foster girls.
The shop, called Blossom, is due to open this month – although it has already started helping families, according to founder Linda Durrence.
Durrence, 51, of Glennville, Georgia, told Fox News Digital that when Blossom opens, it will provide children in need with seven full sets of clothes and shoes free of charge. Families will be able to visit and get seven new sets of clothing each quarter for seasonal changes, or more frequently if a child has a major size change.
“We just want to be able to be Jesus’ hands and feet,” Durrence told Fox.
“We just want to make a difference in our community and surrounding communities,” she added.
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Durrence said she came up with the idea for the store several years ago after her family suffered a loss.
In December 2016, Durrence’s eldest daughter died in a car crash aged 27. After her death, Durrence, her husband, and their two other daughters returned to Glennville and began attending a local church.
The Durrence girls quickly befriended three foster sisters who lived with another family who attended the same church.
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However, in 2018, the sisters were going to be separated and moved to other foster homes.
Durrence said her family had decided to take in the two young girls until they could be reunited with their grandparents in Florida. Meanwhile, the older sister had turned 18 and withdrawn from foster care. She chose not to go with the family at first, Durrence said.
When the two younger sisters arrived at her home in September 2018, Durrence realized the girls had very little possessions.
“The first thing that broke my heart was that they came with a trash bag that wasn’t even half full of clothes that didn’t fit them,” Durrence told Fox. “They had a hairbrush. They each had a toothbrush, but they only had a little trial size toothpaste. They had no shampoo, no conditioner, nothing. “
Over the weekend, Durrence said she and her husband took the girls shopping and brought them everything they might need.
“We just want the other adoptive parents to know and the adoptive children to know that the journey can be wonderful if everyone gets involved and does a little bit.”
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Durrence said that when the girls settled into the family, she and her husband noticed positive changes.
“We’ve seen them rise from a place of pure brokenness and they’ve blossomed,” Durrence said.
After a few months, the sisters were to be reunited with their grandparents, but when Durrence told them they were leaving, they begged to stay, saying they were tired of moving around, Durrence said.
With the grandparents’ blessing, Durrence and her husband were able to adopt the girls in May 2019. Durrence said she and her entire family remain in close contact with the girls’ grandparents. The girls’ older sister also lives nearby.
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Even as the sisters were part of the family, Durrence said she thinks back to the trash bags they brought with them when they first moved in.
“It stuck in my mind,” Durrence said, adding that while her family was “financially blessed” to be able to buy the girls everything they needed, some other foster families might not be in. able to do the same.
“What about the families who can’t go out and buy them what they need? Durrence said. “Just the bare minimum, the necessary.”
Durrence said she thought about opening a boutique for children in need for a few years until a space opened up in a small mall late last year. She said she bought it and started working on Blossom the second week of January. The store depends on donations and has already received a lot of help, Durrence said.
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“We’re already serving families, even though we’re not officially open,” Durrence said.
Durrence said the store’s name came from the transformation of his adopted daughters.
“We’ve seen them bloom and that’s where the name comes from,” Durrence said. “And what we hope is with Blossom, that it goes far beyond kids coming in to pick up clothes.”
Although they’ve only just begun, Durrence said she already has her eye on a future addition to Blossom: an education center to help foster children stay on track in school. The center would also give foster parents the tools they need to help their children.
“We still have challenges along the way, but it’s been a wonderful journey,” Durrence said of her adopted daughters. “We just want the other adoptive parents to know and the adoptive children to know that the journey can be wonderful if everyone gets involved and does a little bit.”