CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - An Horry County non-profit that has been helping children who are entering foster care and dealing with other crisis situations since 2004 now has a new home.
Tabby Shelton, executive director for Fostering Hope in Conway, said the new facility was purchased in June 2016. Now, one year later, they have officially moved in.
The larger building is dedicated to serving children in Horry County and the surrounding region.
Shelton said it is truly a blessing to see children who often have nothing come in and pick out the clothes, shoes and toys that they want. Still, it's unfortunate that more children are coming through the organization's doors.
That's why Shelton is grateful she has the new facility and space to cater to their needs.
"They get to have a little comfort in knowing these are things they want to wear, they want to have," she said. "We're just blessed that we get to see these children feel the support of our community."
The new building, located on Elm Street in Conway, is a 6,500-square-foot thrift store for children to shop for donated items free of charge.
Additionally, the store sells household items like furniture, dishes and home decor. Women's clothing and shoes are also for sale, with all the money benefiting children who may need extra assistance.
Foster Hope partners with several agencies in Horry County and other surrounding counties. No child or family can received items from the non-profit store without a referral from those partnering organizations. Also, guidance counselors at schools may also ask for assistance for children.
Shelton says the expansion is right on time, as they are continuing to see a rise in the number of children needing assistance. On average, the non-profit can see between 150 to 200 kids each month.
"A child that is placed into a protective situation actually could be placed in several different counties depending on the availability of a foster home being available," she said.
Relying on donations and volunteers, Shelton says more 'gently-loved' items are needed to keep the facility stocked.
"We are always taking items in for the children," she said. "We take items from newborn, premature infants all the way up to size 5X. Also, we always need jeans that are in good condition."
Boy's clothing and shoes, and girls teen plus-sized clothing is also needed, according to Shelton.
Volunteers are the ones that will sort through the donations and help children pick out the items they want. Shelton said with a bigger facility, more volunteers are needed.
The director was inspired to start the organization after adopting her two twin sons, both 20. Shelton said there will always be a need to help children in the local community and she wants to be there for them and let them know someone cares.
"We're not going to fix everybody's situation, and unfortunately we can't," she said. "It's always going to be abuse and neglect in this society, unfortunately, but what we are is basically a place where there is some hope for them and there's some comfort."
For more information on how to donate or volunteer, click here.