Globe Police sergeant set the ball rolling several months ago
Some trips take weeks or months to plan and are greatly anticipated, but some journeys taken by children in the Globe Miami area can be nightmarish as they are removed from their homes and placed in the care of complete strangers in the foster system.
Because many children are victims of abuse or neglect when they are removed from their homes, they often lack the most basic articles of clothing and toiletries and leave their homes traumatized and underdressed.
The Journey Bags created by members and friends of Apostolic Lighthouse in Globe are designed to ease the pain of separation for children who are suddenly removed from their homes.
“Our goal is to make a terrible situation more bearable for these children,” said Pastor David Staten. “If we can help them feel just a little bit of hope and restore their dignity, we will feel like we have done a good thing.”
Starting in October, members of the church began purchasing clothing, pajamas, toys, underwear, socks and toiletries. When Aaron Dean, who is the former pastor’s son and part of the children’s outreach team, posted the list on Facebook, several of his friends from near and far started sending or walking in items from the lists.
The outpouring of donations and concern for local children convinced the church that the project, which was initially scheduled to end in December, was one to keep going all year.
“I have several friends who donated or plan to donate,” Dean said. “People are excited about helping children around here.”
Where It All Started
A security alarm went off at the church in October 2017, and after Globe Police Sgt. Katrina Kjellstrom cleared the premises, she took a moment to speak to the pastor and wife on the front porch.
When asked how the church could best help the community, Sgt. Kat’s face lit up as she began to speak about a cause very dear to her heart: Our community’s children.
Her stories about children being removed from a variety of situations without even proper clothing or anything of their own grabbed the hearts of the two listening. That night, they put together a plan and presented it to their church that week. Within days, it was clear that the project had also captured the hearts of the congregation as they arrived, bags of clothing and toys in hand.
Sgt. Kat and Lt. Robert Folker showed up at the church on Christmas Eve to collect eight completed bags, which ranged in sizes from toddler sizes to 8-10-year-old sizes.
Aimee Staten, pastor’s wife, introduced the two officers and thanked them for caring so much for the most vulnerable members of the community.
“This is wonderful,” Sgt. Kat told the members gathered at the church that morning. “This will make a big difference to these children, who, as you know, have no control over their circumstances.”
Pastor Staten said he was grateful to be part of something that could make a difference – even if it was a small difference – for so many children.
The church has collected numerous supplies for another 15 Journey Bags, but many are missing items like underwear, socks and shirts and pants. If you would like to become a part of this project, contact David and Aimee Staten at 928-651-1781 or 928-651-2191. You can also visit their Facebook page under Apostolic Lighthouse in Globe.
Aimee Staten has worn several hats over the last few years, but she recently put on one of her more familiar caps after four years of working in nonprofits: That of a journalist. She has 14 years of experience in the news business as a reporter with eight of those years as the managing editor of the Eastern Arizona Courier.