“Supporting Kids in Foster Care,” with Allie Roth
Amanda Stubbert: Welcome to the SPU Voices Podcast, where we tell personal stories with universal impact. Today, we sat down with my good friend Allie Roth. With Love’s story began in 2013 when Allie discovered that one of her elementary students, April, had lived in three different foster homes in as many months. Allie was compelled to help find clothing and school supplies for both April and her younger sister, Mary, but quickly grew discouraged after realizing that outside resources for underage kids, ages 0 to 6, were really hard to find. Seeing a need to bridge the gap between foster families and their communities, Allie founded With Love out of her house. Within six months, she and a group of friends had provided more than 20 families with the vital items needed to care for a child. Today, With Love provides 120 Portland foster families each month with necessary resources, such as diapers, blankets, books, and sunscreen. Allie, thank you so much for joining us today.
Allie Roth: I’m so glad to be here with you.
Amanda: Well, let’s just start at the beginning. So you were a teacher and you had kids of your own, and then obviously, we changed the name. April is not her real name, but she does represent a real child. She came into your life. Tell us how that came to be.
Allie: Yeah, so backtracking a little bit. I’m one of those people that knew from early on that I was going to be a teacher and that’s actually one reason why I chose SPU. They had a great teaching program and I just knew it. That’s what I wanted to do. And so while teaching, I taught fourth and fifth grade, I just felt like I was living in my calling. I knew what I wanted to do, and I was so in love with it. And so when I was pregnant is when I realized that our son has some major health concerns and that being working a mom full time was going to be really hard. And so I knew that there was going to be a little shift within that. And when I’d had this little one, we do call her April, in my classroom, I had other kids in foster care in my classroom, but this was a pretty profound case.
Kids in foster care tend to bounce around quite a bit. And so educationally, they can be behind. And so I really felt like by having my son, I was leaving her behind again. And that was another person walking out of her life. And that just didn’t work for me. I just, I really felt like I’d been advocating for her all school year. I’d been getting her the extra steps she needs. And so once my son was born, every Wednesday, I would show up at the school and tutor her for free to try to help her get caught up. And it was through that process that I got to know caseworkers and got to know her younger sister that was typically there when we’d pick him up, they would pick her up. And I realized, oh my gosh, I’ve been advocating in all this stuff for April, but what about the kids that are under school age, who is being that voice?
“I’m one of those people that knew from early on that I was going to be a teacher.”
And so it was a big learning experience for me. And then I think that also because of time in my life, I mean, when you have a baby, there’s just so much gear and stuff that you need. I realized, wait a second, I have all the stuff I’m gathering for my child, but hold on. There’s a lot of other children in Oregon that need this stuff, too, but who’s helping them, who’s getting them this stuff? So I think that’s sort of where this journey really began is seeing my own son and caring for him, which also matched in the same season that I had April in my classroom, and that really just opened the door to asking more questions.
Amanda: Yes. When I think of all that gear, having had kids of my own and all the stuff you buy and obviously some of it is optional. Some of it is just to kind of make life a little bit easier, but there are some things that are for safety. You kind of have no choice, but to have certain things like up-to-date car seats, that you really, you don’t have the luxury of going without.
Allie: You’re right. And there’s quite a few foster families that also use public transportation. And so having a stroller for example, is vital. Getting these kids to their visitations or getting them to the doctors or to the lawyers, you have to have certain things to make that happen. And so, yes, it could be a car because you’re going in a car for like getting a car seat, but it could be as simple as also a stroller. So I started to realize early on that I wanted these foster families to feel supported, but more than that, I wanted not only them to feel supported, I wanted them to have things that represented dignity because we are not a charity, we’re a support system. And so what I mean by that is there’s just things that people pass on like, “Uh, I’ve had this stroller in my garage for three years and it’s just sat there.
And so I just want to bless somebody with it.” It’s like, oh, but that has the Cheerios still in it from three years ago and this spilled milk, it’s like, that’s not blessing anybody. And so when we think about kids in foster care, kids go into foster care by no fault of their own, right? And in Oregon, we have double the national average of kids in foster care, and that tends to be from the opioid crisis we’re dealing with here. We also have some situations with unstable housing. And then the other piece is just, you know what? We’re in a pandemic and the use of alcohol and drug use has just risen.
And so these kids are not coming from good, healthy places when they’re getting removed. And so to give them more stuff that perpetuates you’re a castoff, you’re just getting the extras versus you are seen, you are known, you are important. And so I think when starting With Love, we not only wanted to serve these kids, we wanted to do it with a lot of intention to then be sending the right messages to the foster families and to these little ones in foster care.
“I wanted these foster families to feel supported.”
Amanda: Doesn’t make such a difference? One of my roommates at SPU, she grew up in a family with missionary parents and they used to get care packages from home, and she said some were wonderful and it was like Christmas morning when we opened them, and she said, but some people would, I don’t know about you guys, but I use a teabag twice sometimes. So people would use a teabag, and then, so they would take one used one and a second used one and tie them together and then use that for another cup of tea. Well, that’s fine to stretch your own grocery budget, but people would mail all the way to Japan, two used tea bags tied together. So they could use that for the extra time. And she said they would open boxes like that and just throw it all away because it felt terrible.
It felt like, oh, I’m a beggar on the street. And they won’t even, it’s like, why don’t you use the double teabag so that you have extra and send them the fresh tea bags?
Amanda: And just thinking about the people on the other end and instead of thinking of, oh, they’ll just be so grateful to have something, no, think about what you would want to receive. And that’s what I love the first time you and I met and talked about what With Love did, I was so excited by this idea that new or very, very gently used number one, but number two, even what that child is into.
Allie: Yeah. Oh, definitely. So I think one of the unique things about out With Love that actually slows us down a little bit is that we cultivate a delivery just for that child. And so the good news about that is, we ask questions like what’s their favorite character? What’s their favorite color? Do they have any sensory needs? Are there any cultural needs that we should be aware of? So we’re curating the delivery just for that child. The trick of this though, is that means we’re not emergency services because it’s not like you get a 2-year-old and here’s your box, there you are. I mean, we shop, we have a 6,500-square-foot warehouse now, and we shop for just that individual child. And so it’s really fun, especially when you find out you have this little 4-year-old, who’s really into, let’s say Elsa, who has textured hair, who also loves dinosaurs.
And so you’re just on this quest, and when you are finding these items, that perfectly line up, you get the dino purse, the dino boots, and then you find the costume for Elsa and the Elsa blanket, it’s just so much joy wrapped into that delivery, but that also takes time. And so when kids go into foster care, they tend to have a window of time, maybe one hour to three hours that as a foster parent, I get a call and that kid’s in my front doorstep. And so there is that panic, a little bit of like, oh my gosh, I need all these things. That is true. And so you can go on our website, make a request as soon as that child’s in your home, but it does take a couple days to get that step for you because we are curating specifically for that child.
And so the beautiful thing about With Love is we call ourselves a support system. And so foster parents, they’ll probably have to run to Target still to get a couple items, but we’ve been around long enough that people know us. A child leaves their home and they pass all of their gear, their strollers, all that stuff to either the next foster family or the biological family, knowing that With Love will be there for their next placement. And sadly, if a kid booms, we call it, the word boomerang. If they go to the foster, the foster parent gives everything to the bio parent and the bio parent doesn’t work out and needs more help still, and the kid comes back into care and the foster parent’s like, “Oh my gosh, they kept the stroller. They kept the car seat. They kept the clothes.”
We’re like, don’t worry about it. We’ll set you right back up again. We’re going to be there 100% for that child. So it’s one of those situations where we really think about that child opening up that gift. We serve them every three months, because kids are growing and seasons are changing and we want our deliveries to be associated with positivity and love and delight and not be, oh my gosh, I got the castoffs. Ooh, that doesn’t fit. Oh, I don’t like this, that type of thing to make people not feel seen in them.
“We want our deliveries to be associated with positivity and love and delight.”
Amanda: Yeah. I want to talk about your own family’s journey with working as a foster family. But before that, I want to talk about the growth of With Love itself, because I know it started in your garage. So I want to talk about how you managed the growth of With Love itself. So it started just in your garage with you helping this one family and then very quickly grew to where you have this big warehouse and hundreds of volunteers. How did you manage that growth?
Allie: Yeah. One thing about my personality that I don’t know if anybody else can relate to, is I’m a planner. Like I said early on, I was a teacher, that’s what I was going to do. I knew this. So when following something, and I really believe this comes down to the obedience, like when God put something on your heart. It was one of those situations where I didn’t just jump in, I’m like, I’m going to start a nonprofit, to be honest with you, it’s actually not a good thing to do, just jump in and start a nonprofit. So I put that out there, if anyone’s interested. So for a year I toured other nonprofits. I asked questions. I tried to see if I could go under them and do sort of what my vision was. And at the end of the day, after doing a lot of searching and understanding and asking questions, it was very clear that we had to become our own 501c3 because some people didn’t care about the dignity to that level or they just didn’t have the bandwidth to bring another nonprofit under.
And so at the time, that seemed really burdensome but in hindsight it was a big gift, because that allowed us to do what we needed to do. And so really we started small and authentic and one of the things, learning the landscape over that year, that I learned was there was a group called Foster Parent Night Out that we have in Oregon. And I realized, OK, these parents are going to drop their child off at a church for four hours of respite care a week, sorry, a month. And I was like, well, guess what, there’s already an established group. They already have the foster parents there. I don’t know what I’m doing. So we started this at my house, but we would travel and set up almost like a pop-up shop for these foster parents. And after they dropped their child off, they would quickly walk through, grab the stuff that we had, and then leave.
And so what that did is it allowed me to take this theory of what being a foster parent was, to actually getting to know the foster parents and hearing their stories and getting feedback and realizing, oh my gosh, they don’t need this, they actually need that. And so I think that was starting small and really trying to know our audience, because at that point I wasn’t a foster parent. And so I didn’t know the challenges that come along with being a foster parent. But the other thing is I sort of knew my building blocks. Number one was dignity. Number two, I knew that at that time, eight and a half years ago, you were either a foster parent or you weren’t. And I just felt like there wasn’t any bridge. And if there’s so many kids in foster care, you might have heard the word CASA before.
But I mean, it was just this thing like, I’m not a foster parent and I can’t help. And so I said, I really want to make this a situation where people can volunteer their time, they can volunteer their new items or they can donate. And so what we’re saying is yes, foster care, not everybody should be a foster parent, but everybody can help a child in foster care. And so making those onramps and inviting people in. And so really thinking about, OK, dignity, connecting the community in, and then the final one, I think I was on the right track. I was a little off in this assumption, but one of them was now that I was a stay-at-home mom, there were not a lot of places I could volunteer with a baby, or I would show up and they would be like, “Oh yeah, hmmm, uh …”
“Not everybody should be a foster parent, but everybody can help a child in foster care.”
And I was like, wait a second, if I’m giving up my time or even getting a babysitter, I want my time to be honored. And so I wanted this to be a place that working moms could volunteer in the afternoons or evenings or on the weekends with their kids, washing laundry. I wanted this to be a place that stay-at-home moms could bring their children. We have a playroom where they could volunteer. But one thing I did not see coming that I actually think is a really, really big heartbeat at With Love was retired people. Retired people had a lifetime of experience. They were experts in what they had done. So they knew a lot about things that I didn’t know about. And then they also had time. And so it was one of those aha moments.
This whole trying to be parent-friendly is really important, but oh my gosh, where this powerhouse is coming from is people that are retired. And so really setting up With Love in a way that people could have ownership.
It wasn’t like you’re just one of many people, it’s like, oh, well, after you volunteered a couple times and you like us and we like you, can we lean into your expertise? Here are some areas that you can just really own and run. And so I think a lot of volunteers have stuck with With Love because they’ve seen us grow. They’ve seen all the stories that we’ve shared, but also because they’re empowered and they feel like by them showing up, it makes a difference. And so the journey that I didn’t really realize we’d be growing as fast as we are, has really been because doing that research, looking around, I’ve never done this by myself, by the way, I’ve always had an amazing team, amazing board members, mentors, really guiding me. So when you say, oh, how did this grow? It’s like, well, to be honest, right now, I look at this and I’m like, wow, I’m so privileged to be part of this journey because it’s grown despite me.
Amanda: Well, I understand that and I really applaud the humility in the way that you’re looking at it. On the other hand, I’m also marveling at that, what I hear you saying, that planner, that you got that as a teacher and that’s who you were born to be, but plan, plan, plan, and yet hold it loosely enough that when things change and people show up that maybe have different expertise than you were expecting, that you were then able to go with that and adjust the plan to let those things come in, and I find personally, that that’s the best way to approach anything, plan, plan, plan, learn, learn, learn, and yet, hold it loosely enough that you can go when God gives you this blessing, you’re actually able to use it.
Allie: I fully agree. And it’s interesting. And this is where I feel like having the privilege of being able to start With Love, it was one of those situations where, because my husband had a stable job and I didn’t need health insurance, for example, like not everybody has a privilege of sort of stepping out in faith like this, but I think God’s really used this because I am such a planner, and I got all these degrees. I mean, I went to SPU, and then I got my reading endorsement, and then I got my master’s degree, this was all in education. And so for me to step into a whole different realm that I don’t know anything about and lead it; that is not my comfort zone.
And so I feel like this has also been God’s over time, just teaching me over and over again of like, I’ve got you, I’m giving you your certain skill sets, and then I’m surrounding you with people that have the other skill sets, and you need to lean into what I’ve given you and follow that, but also know, it’s not just about you, it’s about this other team that’s coming around to help rise up the foster care system and really support them.
“As an educator for 15 years, if you would’ve told me, ‘Oh, you’re going to quit education and be running a nonprofit,’ I would’ve thought you were crazy.”
And so I think that if you would’ve told me, as an educator for 15 years, if you would’ve told me, “Oh, you’re going to quit education and be running a nonprofit,” I would’ve thought you were crazy. That was not in my trajectory. I had no clue, but what’s really interesting, and I think that when you and I first met for the Medallion Award, is that had I stated my comfort zone and been a teacher, well, you and I wouldn’t have met, because I would’ve been a really great fourth and fifth grade teacher, but there’s a lot of other great four and fifth grade teachers.
And so it’s been really a joy for me to lean into other parts my personality. I’ve failed tremendously in a lot of things, as we’ve learned this, it’s like drinking from a firehose sometimes, but to see other parts of my personality or to know myself better now and say, yeah, I was a really good teacher and I love teaching so much, but oh my gosh, look at the privilege I get to do and how much I’ve learned through the last eight and a half years and the people’s paths I’ve got to cross, and these amazing foster parents that I’ve gotten to know that again, had I stayed in my little safe part of the pool, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. And so I think that’s something that as a planner, I really would have put myself in a box and not have grown the way I have over the past eight and a half years.
Amanda: Well, and that’s one of the reasons I am such a huge believer, even though some people think of it as almost old-fashioned these days, but of a liberal arts education, because how many of us get one job and keep that our entire working lives? We grow, we change, new opportunities came up that we didn’t even know would or could exist, and that idea of being educated as a whole person. So like you were saying, you have skill sets. It’s not that you just knew how to be a teacher. You had all these skill sets that then you were able to use in a new way.
Allie: Well, I was a little frustrated because at that time, and I don’t know how it is now, but at that time, it was actually, you weren’t getting a degree in teaching, you got your certificate, but you actually had to major in something else. And so I looked at the gamut of all these different things but I was going to be a teacher. That’s all I was going to do. So what would complement that? And when it really came down to it, I decided to go with communication. And so I do actually have my communications degree, which is ironic because now I’m actually using probably parts of those as I go and I travel and I do all this stuff, but it’s funny, because I did that as a backup because you guys told me I had to, to get my certificate.
That was my first idea in doing that. And so I really think that having that opportunity to lean into this other side that I didn’t know I had in myself. And I think the other thing that’s being now, I am a foster mom, but I have two biological kids as well, and my husband is a CEO of a company here in Portland. And I think it’s really great to be teaching our kids and modeling day in and day out not only being foster parents, but using our skill sets. And again, I could be a teacher and I’d be wonderful. That’s where I was supposed to be but my kids are seeing me being able to do all these different things and hearing stories and even this weekend, we went shopping and we bought stuff like toothbrushes and socks and underwear.
“I think it’s really great to be teaching our kids and modeling day in and day out not only being foster parents, but using our skill sets.”
And this is not fun stuff to buy, but having this conversation of the why. Why are we buying all of this? Why is this essential for these kids? Because going and buying pajamas and buying toys, that’s the fun thing. But when you’re kids, when we’re talking and these kids come with no underwear, these kids have maybe not even had a toothbrush before. It’s just so innate because they always have a dresser full of underwear and socks and toothbrushes. So it’s really, again, I feel like I’m growing as a person, but my family who, my kids, they don’t have a lot of wants, they’re learning, oh this is how good I have it and other kids don’t have it like I have it. And then by being foster parents, they’re actually seeing, oh, these kids come with nothing. So I think it’s making them more well rounded, as well.
Amanda: Absolutely. I just felt like I had an epiphany just the other day about privilege and how we talk about privileges is things that we have that we don’t necessarily have to work for or strive for. But I was really thinking of it in terms of absence of fear. Like your kids never had to worry about what would happen if they didn’t have a toothbrush. They’ve never had to worry about what you’re going to wear to school, other than choosing what to wear out of the closet, and being able to take away some of that fear for another child. That’s everything.
Allie: Yeah. And it’s one of those things that foster care really has … what really impacts foster care, I should say, is socioeconomic status. And what’s so interesting is that, when we talk about partnerships and we talk about what we give these children, we want these kids to look like everybody else. And we have some jokes at With Love because we have some amazing partnerships that sometimes these kids in foster care are dressed or using things that are actually nicer than what our biological kids had, and that’s so good. That’s what we want. And so we have had our kids with us. We’ve had 11 children through foster care or respite care in our house in the last four years. And we’ve had even people at the gym or wherever say, “Oh, that doesn’t look like a child in foster care,” and that’s when you just pause and you’re like, what did you assume a child foster care looks like?
Amanda: Why would you assume you could tell the difference? Yeah, exactly.
Allie: Yes. And so yes, the children that come into our care, I mean, families really have to deal with lice and bed bugs and all these different things, yes. But when you give kids the quality items, when you give them quality clothing, they feel so much better about themselves and they don’t look different, they just look like a little 3-year-old or whatnot. And that’s our goal. We want these kids to look like everybody else, and we want people at church to ask us about our kids and to be like, “Oh my gosh, well, wait, you both run companies, you have two small kids and yet you’re foster parents?” And it’s like, yeah. And you could do this, too. And by the way, why don’t you start by doing just respite care, which is essentially babysitting or giving a little reprieve for these foster parents, and you can do this, too.
And so making it more normalized, and we have a group of friends that have started fostering as well. And it’s really nice because they not only understand what you’re going through on your good days and your bad days, but also it’s just, again, it’s not kids in foster care. It’s like, oh, these are our kids. And we know each other’s names and we remember each other’s birthdays and they’re parts of our families. And so how, again, going back to it, if I would’ve stayed as a teacher just doing what I was doing in my safe little area, I wouldn’t have got to know all these little kids that have been part of our family and what a privilege that has been.
Amanda: What do you tell people who say it would be just too hard to love a child and then let them go back?
Allie: I could never do that. That’s always a statement, I could never do that. I could never do that. Well, that’s a “I” statement. That’s about yourself and really, regardless of whether you can do it or not … we take in drug-affected infants. So there is a drug-affected newborn, staying in a hospital, needing a place to go. It’s not about me. It’s about this little baby, and this baby has no other resources. At the end of the day, after this little one leaves our family, I’ve got resources, I’ve got community, I’ve got these people supporting me to go through this really hard transition. This little newborn has nobody. And when I get called, my family gets called, there really is nobody because, first of all, they look for next-of-kin, who else can take this child?
“I think if people say, ‘Well, I would get too attached. It’d be too hard,’ isn’t that exactly what these kids need? Don’t they need need people that are going to get attached?”
And so when my family gets called, it means there’s no one stepping up or no one available. And so the other thing is, I think if people say, “Well, I would get too attached. It’d be too hard,” isn’t that exactly what these kids need? Don’t they need need people that are going to get attached? Don’t they need people that are going to be crushed when they leave, because they’re so in love with them? So I think it’s taking that statement of “I could never do that” so regardless of what you can do or not do, there is a little baby who needs a place to go and there’s no one. That’s a different paradigm shift than it’s about me. It’s about them. And so knowing that there is this little kid and there’s no place for them to go, oh, I’m focusing on that versus me.
Amanda: Which really could go with anything where we see a need and it just feels too big, so we close our eyes. I mean, I think that could go with anything that our heart is drawn to where we have to say, instead of what I can’t do, it’s like, but what could I do, but what am I able to do?
Allie: Yeah. And it’s interesting nowadays, foster care is more in the mainstream. There’s celebrities that have adopted, there’s TV shows, there’s movies, that foster care is being talked about. And I think that’s been a powerful thing because if you’re not dealing in the foster care community, it’s just this foreign idea of these kids and I don’t know them, and I don’t know if I can let them go. And it’s just, it’s tricky, whereas I feel like by having some of these conversations and it’s being more mainstreamed and being talked about, it’s also making it more accessible. And I think that’s really important because at the end of the day, these kids are just like any other kids, it’s by no fault of their own that they were put into foster care. And if you see them as kids first, and that’s why we don’t say foster kids, we see kids in foster care because they are kids first. And so just really being aware of that and saying, we want to make that difference and really show up for them, it’s not about me, it’s a game changer.
Amanda: For sure. Yeah, absolutely. So what is next for With Love, and how can our listeners either in the Portland area or everywhere else around the globe, how can they get involved?
Allie: Yeah, well, this year, 2020 was a tricky year for us. We grew 20% in a pandemic, which was hard and in doing so, we had 3,000 touchpoints in 2020. Well, we’re finishing up this year and we’re already ahead, 7% from that. So it’s telling you the need is great. There’s quite a few ways. Number one, we are starting into our season of giving. Our goal is to help create Christmas for over 600 children. And so on our website, we have a whole holiday page and you can go on and you can adopt an Amazon wish list. So let’s say you say 10 of my friends and I, we’re going to make a difference or 10 of my people in my Bible study are going to make a difference. So you can adopt one of those lists. Another way is you can financially give, and there’s a link to do that on our website. For a season of giving, we have a goal of $60,000 to raise this holiday.
To donate or volunteer, visit withloveoregon.org
So that’d be great. But if you’re more local, the other thing is we have places to volunteer. So if you go on our website, you can click “get involved” and you can volunteer in our warehouse. And then you can also donate your kids’ new and like-new items at our warehouse and all the hours are on our website. But one of the ways that we really, we do a quarterly newsletter, but what’s really helpful is we’re really active on Instagram and Facebook (With Love Oregon). The reason why is we’re always just telling the stories, we’re saying we’re up to this week. And so you can say, “Oh my gosh, I see that they’ve got a couple books that came in. I’ve got a ton of books that my family’s have grown out of, and they’re in a really wonderful condition. Hey, I can donate those.” Or hearing, “Hey, there’s some volunteer opportunities available. I haven’t looked at the calendar recently.” And so following us on social media is a really easy way. And if you’re like, “Gosh, I’m living in Colorado and I can’t really go volunteer.” One thing that’s so easy is if you give our social medias a share or you give us a wow or a heart. What that does is it makes the algorithm show our posts even more. And so even just going on there and giving us a heart or a wow, it’s like that can really help spread the word. And that’s a very simple way of supporting us, as well.
Amanda: All right. And again, that’s With Love Oregon and the website is withloveoregon.org. All right, Allie, I hate to end our conversation because I always love hanging out with you. You’re so positive, so much energy, but let’s end with our favorite question that we ask all of our guests. If you could have everyone in our area do one thing differently tomorrow, that’s going to make the world a better place, what would you have us do?
Allie: Gosh, this is such a good one. I would say, find an organization that you are passionate about and either donate your time or your finances. So whatever that is, so whether it be animals or whether it be elderly or whatever it is, ’cause I think what that does is creates a place of more connectedness, but also empathy. And I think if we just had, we were more connected and had more empathy, I think that the world would be a better place.
Amanda: And I think that does so much for our own hearts, as well. Not just feeling good, but it helps us get our eyes off our own issues and our own troubles. And I really do think it makes us healthier people, don’t you?
Allie: Oh, absolutely. And I think that you can be in college making that difference, and it’s not easy, by the way, we’re all busy. So everyone can use that as an excuse of like, “Oh, I’m just so busy.” Yeah. We’re all busy, but you can be a college-aged student, you could be in your first job, you could be a mom with small kids at home. Whatever it is, to be focusing on the bigger world around us, I think life is hard, especially right now.
And I think we’ve all gone through something in the last year and a half that’s really, really hard. And so to acknowledge that and then say, OK, so if that’s the reality, then how can I make the world a little bit brighter for somebody else? Because you just never know when it’s going to come back to you and somebody else is going to show up, whether it be with coffee or whether it’s say, “Hey, let me help you. I know it’s been a hard day with studying, let me help you study,” or whatever it might be. But by being able to focus on the bigger world around us and give of that time, that is a gift. And I think that we’re all better for it.
Amanda: Absolutely, absolutely agree. All right. Let’s end with our prayer of blessing: May the Lord bless you, and all you put your hands to. May the Lord be gracious to you and all who hear your story. May God bring unity to our community and peace to us all. Thanks so much, Allie.
Allie: Oh, it was my honor.