LEBANON, Mo.– Laura Gartin is a business owner who started a non-profit for foster families, a community Gartin finds herself apart of.
Gartin owns a vape shop in Lebanon.
“I have a lot of very loyal customers,” said Gartin.
Gartin says her passion lies in her non-profit Live 2 Give Hope.
The organization helps assist foster families in Laclede county.
“In May of 2017, I started fostering and then through that experienced realized the immense needs that existed in the foster care community,” said Gartin.
Gartin says her experience sparked the creation of the group’s Fostering Hope Closet.
“They can come in and get anything they need,” said Gartin. “Over a third of the clients that come in are getting things for emergency new placement..”
Gartin says this occurs more often than you might think.
“We have about 500 children in foster care here in the circuit which is Laclede, Camden, Miller, Morgan and Montague counties.”
Gartin says without things like a bed and clothing, a child in need of a fresh start, can’t be placed into a foster home.
“There aren’t that many licensed fostered homes and so that’s who they call,” said Gartin. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve got one kid or you’ve got four kids.”
Gartin says she hopes the closet helps these families focus on what matters most.
“We don’t want somebody who’s got a good heart who says I can’t do this because I’m not rich,” said Gartin.
She says the non-profit also provides a four-hour break for parents to get some alone time.
For things like a date night or even to just take a nap.
“They’re incredibly thankful and it warms our heart and that’s what keeps us going because it is so needed,” said Gartin.
Gartin says she dreams of one day having a building large enough to house both the closet and the non-profit’s admin office.
Click here for more information on the organization.