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End the Year with Cheer: How Beacon Hill volunteers help support Alaska children in foster care

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 10:32 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - You may have driven by Beacon Hill thrift store, an unassuming tan building on Arctic Boulevard. The outside is just a standard concrete commercial building but inside is a bustling center for Alaska’s youth in foster care and a boutique.

This non-profit, second-hand store has an eclectic mix of beautifully refurbished furniture, antiques, housewares, clothing and everything in-between. It’s designed to support Beacon Hill’s other programs in the same building which includes a heart gallery, connecting foster children with forever homes, a family support center and a crisis line, a need that’s growing this year.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in families in need. We are getting more calls on our 24-hour helpline, families who are feeling isolated, overwhelmed,” said Kristin Bierma, executive director for Beacon Hill.

This is the only private foster care and adoption agency in the state and they rely on donations from the community and volunteers to not only serve as foster families, but to help other families in need, to transport children, and to simply help keep their store running and their facilities clean and organized.

“We have an amazing, committed team of staff and an army of volunteers that inspire me every single day by their compassion and their willingness to take children into their home during a pandemic, and just their willingness to be committed to serving families who are struggling is an inspiration,” said Bierma. “People can pop in and show up at our boutique or family support center and help us clean toys or process donations, people can drop off things we might need like Clorox wipes or diapers and wipes, things we can pass along to families in need or to use to keep our facility clean.”

Beacon Hill is always looking for donations for their boutique and for volunteers. There are currently more than 3,000 youth in foster care in Alaska and 150 children needing an adoptive placement.

Another way you can help Beacon Hill during this tough year is by giving to their holiday gift drive for youth in foster care. They are looking for new, unwrapped toys for children of all ages. Donations can be dropped off at Beacon Hill through Dec. 16.

We’d love to see how you’re bringing smiles to others this time of year, so send us your stories, pictures, and videos and we’ll broadcast those throughout December as well. Upload your pictures and videos here.

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