With Love's First Benefit Dinner

Seated in the Marylhurst University ballroom on the evening of Oct. 1 attending the first With Love Benefit dinner and auction, I couldn’t help but flashback to four years earlier; reclining on Allie Roth’s couch in her living room, sipping on coffee while my baby daughter crawled around her floor, Allie had something she needed to share with me. She had an idea, a dream, something she was certain would improve foster care in the community. 

 

She had a glimmer in her eyes as she excitedly explained to me, “It is a place where foster parents feel honored and supported. They can get everything they need, and it will be all donations.”  She described to me, in detail, her vision and plan for an organization, a place, that would support and honor foster families in the community. 

I could feel her passion for this mission; I could sense her urgency for this need. She had it in her mind and heart, and I knew somehow, this was going to be more than a passing dream. 

She even had it named: “With Love,… Because the community will come together and share in this, and individuals and families can volunteer in honor of someone. It will be a place where people can receive and be blessed, both the giver and the receiver.”

 

Now, flash forward, four years later and here I sit, among the other approximately 210 people, applauding the successes and future ambitions of With Love,. 

That dream, that vision, that plan has suddenly become a thriving reality. 

 

With Love’s first benefit dinner and auction was a perfect blend of elegance, fun, celebration and challenge. Businesses from all over the community stepped up to donate many desirable auction items; guests could purchase $10 tickets to bid on the items they wanted. From wine tours, to swimming lessons, to art and fun family fun outings, there was something for everyone. The raffle created a sense of anticipation and excitement. 

 

In addition to auction items, there were also collection tables around the room for additional donations to foster children. Guests mingled and noshed on appetizers, sipped wine and beer and surveying the items. The room was buzzing with excited discussion! There was certainly an energy in the air. 

 

 The auction tables closed, and this energy was directed to the center of the room where beautifully decorated tables were set, waiting for guests to begin dinner. 

Colorful paper airplanes adorned the center of each table, creating a playful atmosphere; later in the evening, their craftsmanship was actually tested and tried as they were launched at other tables. These decorations were a great reminder and representation of the innocence of these foster children being served. 

Scott Roth, Allie’s husband, then took the stage to introduce his wife, the visionary, founder and president of With Love..  Allie took to the stage and enthusiastically detailed the history and story of With Love, the positive impact its made on the community and her goals and dreams for the future. 

 

As she spoke, there was that undeniable spark in her eye again. The passion and drive has not wavered one bit in the 4 years since I sat in her living room, hearing of it for the first time. Now, with the belief that even more kids could be served, she voiced a bold goal of raising $55,000 dollars during the dinner. She recognized several community sponsors and supporters, one being First Tech Credit Union, who generously agreed to match $1,000 contributions dollar for dollar up  to $10,000. 

 

Several people took the stage to tell their stories of being a foster parent and the impact With Love, has made in lessening the financial, physical and emotional burdens.  They described the adrenaline rush of receiving the sudden phone call from DHS, notifying them of a child needing care. With emotion, they talked about how With Love was on the front lines, delivering to their door everything they needed, free of charge, allowing them to put all their energy and focus into the child rather than the material necessities. 

Foster care advocate Embrace Oregon’s Director, Brooke Gray took to the stage too, relaying her experience of working with foster care parents as well as taking on the role herself.  Embrace Oregon commended and recognized With Love’s support and credited that the Portland Community is stronger because of With Love’s partnership with DHS and foster families. 

 

To conclude the dinner, very specific needs and goals were addressed. One area of focus was older toddler boy clothing. Donations for this age are extremely low, so a fund was created just for this need, called “Let’s Hear it For the Boys.”  To the background of Deniece Williams' song, envelopes were passed, volunteers helped with credit card transactions and financial pledges and donations were collected. 

 

The night concluded with the room sharing in a truly heartfelt applause. The night was an overwhelming success. The message and mission of With Love, was wonderfully conveyed and the goals were met with affirmation; this is truly a cause worth supporting. The monetary goal was met and was exceeded; $60,220 was raised. 

The evening was a perfect embodiment of all that With Love, stands for and strives to be in the community.

We are stronger;

We are more unified; 

We can show more Love.

 

Thank you With Love, for a tremendous event!

- Theresa Patton

 

Love is the Greatest Remedy for Fear

"The other night I was tucking my 4 year old daughter into bed, when she seemed to be deep in thought. Suddenly, out of the blue she clung to me, pleading desperately, “momma, I don’t want you to die before me!”  I’m not sure where that thought came from, but it left me with a deep pit in my stomach. I realized that her greatest fear in life was being separated from her mom and dad. At age 4-at any age- a child’s parents are his/her’s world; they are protection, love and comfort. A world without this security is one of loneliness, uncertainty and fear. 

 

I left my daughter’s room that night feeling a little helpless; I could not fully calm that anxious feeling I knew she had. I felt sad that she had these thoughts and these fears of abandonment and being alone. As I thought back to this conversation later that night, I realized this is what foster children must feel like. They must have these very same fears and anxieties about being alone, unloved and suddenly vulnerable. 

This is the very reason I get behind With Love, and the work they are doing partnering with foster families. By providing the necessary materials and support, they are allowing these families to put all the focus and energy into loving and caring for these children; these children whose greatest fear just became a reality.  

 

I don’t know how I can assure my daughter that I will always be around all her growing up years. As much as I truly hope and pray I can be there for her, the only thing I can control is how I love her in this moment. Love is the greatest remedy for fear. 

We have control in how we live in each day and how we treat and honor those in our lives. 

Be intentional.

Love deeply. 

And give selflessly, With Love."

 

Written by Theresa Patton

Team of volunteers working together

It takes a village to serve 70+ kids a month. We have so many people who lovingly pour their time in and effort into washing, sorting, bagging, pulling, and delivering items. Many of these people play their part, but don't know what happens next. Here is a thoughtful note from our delivery driver. She is delivering to some special needs kids and was REALLY impressed with how our 'puller' Mary prepared the items that were sent out. 

"Mary Hope did a fantastic job pulling items for these children!!  I ran into Mary when I picked up the delivery and she told me she had spoken with the foster mom the day before.  I'm not sure if this is standard or one of Mary's special touches to talk with the foster parent before selecting items to send, but it gave Mary great insight and helped her select surprisingly thoughtful and appropriate items!  

 

For example, Mary learned the girl could not sit but needed toys.  Mary had the idea for and found a beautiful overhead activity center that the foster mom was tickled with!  Mary also wondered if the child might need extra support so sent along a breast feeding pillow that could be used to slightly elevate the child under the activity center.  The foster mom was VERY pleased with the pillow and said it will be very helpful!  The foster mom also noted the hole in the center of the pad and said this will be good for "tummy time" too, as the trach can slip down in the empty space and not have pressure applied.

 

How wonderful Mary was to open her heart and mind so wide and do such a fantastic job!  I was sure pleased to see Mary was selected as Volunteer of the Month!  She also has my vote for Volunteer of the Year!

 

The little boy was excited to open the bag of all his clothes and he excitedly called out each item, put on a shirt, commented on how nice things looked and felt, how his teacher would be happy to see he now has a winter coat, how he wanted to wear this new bathing suit next time they went swimming, etc.!  He giggled as he pulled out all the books and toys, tested many toys.

 

The foster mom appeared quite surprised and extremely pleased with all that was also sent for the girl.  She noted that her request for clothing that would not be hot was so well honored.  She commented positively on the clothes' styles, colors, quantities.  Very gauzy light weight blankets were a big hit too; she said they are expensive but that the girl uses them daily when she sleeps.  

 

How wonderful for me to meet this family, see the help and joy the With Love delivery brought them!"

- CeCe

Delivery driver and former foster parent 

With Love, is able to serve so many precious children because people in our community say 'yes' to serving. We are so thankful for people like Mary and CeCe who show up weekly to support kids in foster care.

-Allie Roth

Sweet note

We love surprising our foster families with more than they asked for. Who doesn't love it when you ask for a 'tall' drink at Starbucks and they accidentally make you a 'grande.' Thanks to all of our donors we are able to give generously to the foster families. Here is a sweet note we got today:

"Good morning;

I just met CeCe, a wonderful lady who brought what you sent to me and my kids.

I wanted to tell you how Thankful I am for all of the things that you sent.

I was expecting at the most a couple packages of socks, and underwear for A,

and maybe 2 toys for M.

I am so Thankful for you generosity, and help."

M

Foster families work so hard. They are our heroes. We love to support them the best way we can. 

- Allie

 

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Humbled

It takes a village of volunteers to accomplish what we do weekly. We are always so thankful for those people who come and give the gift of their time to help serve kids locally in foster care. Recently two leaders have been asked to work or lead a small group else where. (Yes, our head leaders are that amazing.) Yet, they not only have stayed with us, they have asked what more they can do. Yep, taking on more tasks and responsibilities. As the founder of With Love, it's these moments when I realized that With Love, has out grown me. There are other people wanting to pour more of their valuable time into serving at With Love, than get paid for a part time job?!? This is humbling. It also is a testimony to the dedication and love that these head leaders have for the task at hand. They truly understand the 'heartbeat' of With Love, and want to be a part of making a difference. 

With Love, works with the most vulnerable kids in Portland. That's not an easy task at times. There is a lot of healing many of these sweet kids need to do. Thankfully we have some dynamite leaders that are committed to making their journey just a little easier. 

I'm truly thankful to be volunteering along side all you amazing volunteers. I'm humbled and thankful. 

-Allie Roth

Speaking at the National League of Young Men's Dinner

Allie Roth was asked to speak at the National League of Young Men's Dinner. It was a wonderful event that allowed her to share about volunteering at With Love, as well as how they could get involved. It was after the dinner that something interesting happened. This is the note she wrote to the NYLM head leader:

“What a delightful group of young men you have. I loved seeing everyone dressed up and the kind gentlemen who loaded my car were great. Thank you for allowing me to be part of such a special night. As I walked through the doors to leave, a server followed me and asked for a moment. Painfully, she told me that from age 9 – 18 she was in foster care. Her aunt adopted her brothers but stuck her in the system because she was a girl. She explained how powerful it was to see a group of kids want to give kids in foster care a better story. She was very articulate about how even now that she works, is married and is in nursing school, she is feeling the after effects of society telling her she “isn’t worth it”. She was stunned to go to work today and see a big pile of quality items that a beautiful group of boys with their parents had brought to help kids in foster care. It was unheard of for her. It was also special for me to look her in the eyes and tell her that we are trying our best for those littles who don’t have a voice like she does. And to tell her that she has beat the statistics, which isn’t easy. I was able to give her a big hug and tell her how truly thankful I am that I met her. If it wasn’t for tonight, I would not have met her and she would not have known how amazing your group is. Thank you for that moment.”

JG- a foster mom's story

“I can’t begin to express my thankfulness to With Love for the unbelievable support they have shown my family. We unexpectedly became full time foster parents again when the sibling of our (adopted) son came into foster care recently. In the midst of a very full life, this transition of adding another person to our family has had a massive affect on all 6 members of our family and it has been a challenging adjustment. While working, navigating DHS, extra doctor and other appointments and being there for the emotional well-being of our foster son,  the time to go run errands never seemed sufficient (not to mention how overwhelming the thought of buckling up 5 kids in the car to run around town).  Imagine my delight when I filled out a With Love request and the needed items were dropped off at my house free of charge! It was the embodiment of “service with a smile”.  Nancy, the kind volunteer who made the delivery said she had been praying for me on the way over and it just brought me to tears. We are often reminded that God loves us and is ever-present with us in the messiness through a community of caring people. Thank you, With Love, for tangibly reminding us of God’s goodness in the midst of a challenging situation”.  

 

~ JG, foster mom