Supporting local children in Foster Care

The annual “Operation Back to School” fundraiser to help DeKalb County children in the custody of the Alabama Department of Human Resources is underway.

There are currently 59 children in DHR custody in DeKalb County who will start school in August.

According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, there are over 6,345 children in Foster Care in Alabama. While some simply need foster care for a matter of days, others may need care until they are reunited with their biological family or a plan is made for them to be adopted. However, all these children share the need for care and support.

Danielle Blalock, nurse practitioner at Fort Payne Pediatrics and president of the not-for-profit organization, We’ve Got Your Back, said the fundraiser from We’ve Got Your Back and Fort Payne Pediatrics is aimed explicitly at purchasing school clothing for these children.

She said last year they provided funds for approximately 185 children from DeKalb, Jackson and St. Clair Counties of those 85 were from DeKalb.

“Our goal is to provide each of the children starting school this year with a $200 gift card to purchase shirts, pants, shoes and a jacket,” said Blalock.

Assistance through Operation Back to School fundraiser ensures many of these children would be able to have new back to school clothing they would otherwise not have.

“What we as adults see as merely shirts, pants and shoes are much more for a child or a teen. They see that new outfit as a way to avoid embarrassment, shame, bullying, a way to feel like they belong, and a way to stay warm in the winter, “ Blalock said.

Providing children and teens with the added security of clothing for the new school year, Blalock said, will allow them to better focus on learning and achievement in school.

The 2020 goal is $11,800 and the deadline is August 1, nearing the start of the new school year.

Donations are welcome from individuals and businesses and can be dropped off or mailed to Fort Payne Pediatrics at 1359 Old Water Works Road SW, Fort Payne, AL 35968.

Each donation of $200 or more will receive special recognition if they choose to on We’ve Got Your Back’s Facebook page.

Blalock said along with the fundraiser they are also having a t-shirt sale to raise donations.

Fundraising progress will also be shared through the mentioned Facebook page, and upon disbursement of fund donations, the total amount raised and the amount disbursed will be posted.

Checks can be made payable to We’ve Got Your Back with the memo: Back to School.

According to www.fortpaynepeds.com, We’ve Got Your Back is a nonprofit company founded in 2018 by Fort Payne Pediatrics providers, Dr. Peter Strogov and Danielle Blalock, CRNP. The company sponsors annual fundraisers and initiatives such as Operation Back to School and Community Garden, offering the tools and resources to provide immediate and lasting support for children and families in the community.

Blalock encourages everyone to follow WGYB on Facebook @wevegotyourbackal for regular updates and additional information.

For any questions or concerns, contact Danielle Blalock at 256-997-5900 or email her at dblalock@fortpaynepeds.com.

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