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Ashley County Staff Comes Together to Complete “Project Purpose”Date: 07/03/2019
An assembly line featuring travel-size toiletries was underway in the conference room at the local DHS Ashley County office. Division of County Operations (DCO) staff members were putting together personal care packages for local kids brought into foster care to help support the DHS Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
DCO Ashley County administrator Doris Woods spearheaded the effort, which she dubbed “Project Purpose.” She became inspired to start the project after reading a Friday message email from DHS Director Cindy Gillespie to DHS staff.
In the particular message that caught Woods’ attention, Gillespie mentioned DCFS’s role in helping kids in foster care. Not long after reading the address, Woods would encourage her team to quickly get everything that was needed to help Ashley County’s kids by making sure they had some of the basics they need when they are brought into care, helping bridge the gap while DCFS staff work to find stability for them in a foster home.
“After speaking with the Ashley County DCFS coordinator, I learned that there’s always a need for toiletries,” Woods said. “I sent an email to my team, asking them that when they go out of town and stay in hotels to begin collecting the soaps, shampoos, and other toiletries, and bring them back to the office so we can get them to local kids in foster care. It took us a year to collect enough toiletries to make the packages, but we got it done.”
Every kid taken into care, who comes to the office for a visit, receives a package.
Ashley County staff has already discussed doing more care packages later this year.
“We have lots of staff members who do great things in their home communities. They have a heart for helping others,” Woods said. “Naturally, they’re on board with continuing to save these products so we can do what we can to help children in foster care in our area.”