With all the support we have received, Cole’s Closet has been able to expand donations beyond toys. In 2003 we began sending care packages to families who had children in the hospital for lengthy periods of time. Most families were referred to us through families, friends or our contacts at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children.
In 2005 we created a formal structure for our Family Outreach Program. This program is dedicated to supporting the families of children who have been hospitalized in a pediatric unit for four consecutive weeks or more. These families are provided with items such as gas cards, phone cards, toiletries, restaurant gift certificates and, at times, the support of a family who has been there. We officially began the program at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in Summer 2005.
The goal of the Family Outreach Program is to relieve some of the stress involved with lengthy hospital stays. We hope this will allow the family to spend more quality time together and more time to focus on the child getting well. This program is still in its early stages and we will continue to make changes as we get feedback from the hospitals and families. Ideas for the future include gift certificates for housecleaning, yard services, grocery delivery and other chores that can be done by an outside agency that would give the family more time to focus on themselves.