Kadens Kloset helps foster children
Faith United Methodist Church stores clothing supplies for program
HUMBOLDT — A video shared by a Facebook friend and a little nudge from God inspired Karen Clark to help foster families and families in need in her community.
In 2016, Clark established a Kadens Kloset location at Faith United Methodist Church, 107 N. Fourth St. in Humboldt.
Kadens Kloset is an Iowa-based non-profit aimed at providing necessities for foster and adoptive children, as well as other families in need. The organization was co-founded by Kristle Davis, who grew up in the foster care system. As an adult, she and her husband prepared to foster older children. They were asked if a 9-month-old baby could be placed with them.
The Davises eagerly accepted, but realized they hadn’t prepared to take in an infant and needed items like bottles, diapers, a crib and baby clothes. While the Davises were able to get everything they needed, they realized that not every foster or adoptive family has those resources readily available.
So the idea for Kadens Kloset was born — named after Kaden, the child the Davises fostered and went on to adopt.
It was shortly after Davis started the first Kadens Kloset in the town of Holland in 2016 when Clark saw a video about the organization shared by a mutual friend on Facebook.
“I saw that video and just commented on it, ‘I think this should be in every county,’ hit like and went on my merry way,” Clark explained.
But Kadens Kloset kept drawing her in.
“I just couldn’t stop thinking about it the rest of that week and I told my husband, I think I’m supposed to do something with this,” she said. “This is more than just something you look at and move on. It was really weighing on my heart, so I listened to God’s little nudge.”
Clark reached out to the mutual friend to get in contact with Davis, and after a short phone call, they began to plan a Kadens Kloset in Humboldt.
Clark was able to secure a couple of classrooms in the Faith United Methodist Church in Humboldt to operate Kadens Kloset in. Clothes, shoes and supplies are donated by members of the community. Families in need — often foster and adoptive children with little or no clothing of their own — are able to “shop” the closet for free.
“We had a slow start,” Clark said. “It was slow getting our name and information out there. After about six months in, we’ve been pretty steady. I’ve given a reminder to the social workers in Fort Dodge that cover Webster County and Humboldt County. They try to contact me any time there is a family or child in need.”
Every Kadens Kloset location — there are 14 in Iowa, one in Kansas and one in Missouri — operates a little differently. The Humboldt location works with foster and adoptive families, as well as other families in need, like those who have been displaced or in crisis.
Clark said she does reserve most of the new clothing items for foster children because they often only have access to hand-me-downs.
Because of COVID-19 and the church closing to visitors, Clark hasn’t been able to allow families to shop, but has been able to help those who call her with their needs.
“I can pack you a bag and at least get you through until you can afford the stuff again,” Clark said.
Kadens Kloset accepts new or gently-used clothing items, shoes, hygiene items and other supplies like blankets and bookbags. Clark sometimes encourages people to donate name brand clothes for the older kids who tend to be more concerned about how their clothes look.
“Our younger kids aren’t really all that particular, but middle schoolers and high schoolers, they don’t want to look like they’re wearing hand-me-down clothes, they want to have nice things so I really encourage them to donate stuff like that,” she said.
She likes that the kids are able to feel like they’re shopping someplace nice and not just going through someone else’s leftovers.
For those who have an immediate need, Kadens Kloset supplies “first night bags.”
“First night bag is basically a survival kit for kids and parents for the first night or two,” Clark explained. “It has a change of clothes — hopefully two outfits — a pair of pajamas, diapers, underwear, socks, hygiene items … and then we try to include a blanket, some kind of lovey and a book.”
Kadens Kloset can help provide a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark time for foster children, Clark said.
“We really just want to bring some dignity, some joy and a little bright spot in a very stressful and scary situation and time of these kids’ lives,” she said. “If we can help them out just a little bit, we would love to.”
There’s another Kadens Kloset location nearby — at Manson Mennonite Church, 1310 Eighth St., run by project manager Angie Jensen.
Both local Kadens Klosets are currently open by appointment only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To make an appointment for the Humboldt location, call Clark at 515-890-2396. To make an appointment for the Manson location, message Jensen’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kadensklosetmanson.