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Moving on, again

The Jackson County Foster Parent Association is moving to another temporary location ... one of many

MEDFORD — Keeping the doors open at the Jackson County Foster Parent Association warehouse has proven to be an ongoing struggle for the past 15 or so years.

After a yearlong stay at its latest home, the foster parent warehouse is once again faced with having to find a new location.

During its years in existence, volunteers quip, they’ve spent nearly as much time packing up to relocate — much like the children they serve — as they have providing clothing and supplies to families who serve children in need.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Christina Finke, warehouse manager, starts to pack up the Jackson County Foster Parent Association warehouse Thursday.

Without a permanent home for the seventh time in 10 years, board treasurer Christina Finke said, the group of loyal volunteers and board members are once again in the process of clearing out and packing up.

For the past year, the warehouse has been located on the lower level of 1 W. Main St., in a multilevel building in downtown Medford.

A temporary space was recently offered that will help “buy some time,” and enable operations to keep going. A permanent solution, however, is still needed.

“We’ve been there on Main Street for a little over a year. It’s like a lot of the places we’ve been, where we’re allowed to use it while it’s not being rented. It’s just time for us to move again,” said Finke.

“At least this last time we didn’t have to pay anything for our space, which has been great. We do have a temporary space we can move to for a few months at least. The city (Medford) has a warehouse we can use until we can find something a little more long-term. Ideally, this time, we’re really hoping to find something we could use for a lot of years,” Finke added.

“Basically, we can use the city’s building until they decide what they’re going to do with it, but we need to keep looking for a permanent space so that we can finally settle down and not have to keep moving.”

Prior to the West Main Street location, the clothing and supply warehouse had been housed for a couple of years in the downstairs basement of Grace Point Fellowship.

The latest home will be located near downtown Medford, adjacent to Les Schwab on Central Avenue. The property will be available for the foster parent warehouse until the parcel is developed. Finke estimated the space will be available for the clothing warehouse for six to 12 months.

A free service for local foster parents and the kids they care for, the foster parent warehouse provides an array of clothing, furniture, toys and supplies to ease the financial burden for families.

Parent and kids can show up and “shop” for items such as baby cribs, prom dresses, ski gear and backpacks. An onsite “birthday closet” provides birthday gifts, too.

“We’ve had a lot more families take advantage of the warehouse the last few years, and it feels like there is a greater need. Our newest location — the one we’re moving from now — has been more accessible for families ... than the church basement was,” said Finke.

“I don’t know if the numbers — and need — are up or the newest location was a more viable option. I do know that we’ve had at least 150 families that take advantage of our warehouse on kind of a rotating basis in any given month. We have 30 or more families every week who come in to get things they need.”

Finke said the ideal spot would have at least 3,500 square feet of space in or around Medford that would accommodate clothing racks and be easily accessible for families.

Donated storage space is also appreciated, Finke said, in case another move happens sooner rather than later.

For more info, visit online, jcfpa.org/donate. Reach Finke at 612-423-6182, or via email at christina@jcfpa.org.

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.