As a foster and adoptive parent, Rebecca Hixon knows firsthand the challenges foster, adoptive, and kinship caregivers face when adding a child or children into their home. Many times the children literally go to foster or kinship homes with just the shirt on their back. The foster, adoptive, and kinship families must immediately begin gathering items to meet their basic needs. Then, as the children begin to settle in, other needs arise. The cost can be overwhelming at times.
Earlier this year, Hixon, along with other families who foster, adopt, or provide kinship care, were discussing one of the group member’s recent trip to a closet in Huntsville to help fill in the gaps for the children in her home. Hixon and others soon realized that a closet such as the one in Huntsville would fill a local need and be a blessing to many who have chosen to care for the less fortunate.
The wheels were soon put into motion and within a couple of months the ministry called Closet 127 originated. With the desire to help and encourage foster, adoptive, and kinship care children in tangible ways, the vision of Closet 127 quickly transformed into a ministry to help fill the gap for families who have opened their home to vulnerable children in our area.
The basis and heart behind Closet 127 comes from James 1:27 (NIV): “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This is the desired focus of the ministry.
Under the arm of M.U.D. (Making U Disciples) Ministries, Closet 127 started in July when the team worked out of a couple of storage buildings while trying to locate a better place to house and display items. With God’s perfect plan and perfect timing, Hixon and other volunteers connected with State Farm agent Kim Lee at the 2019 Blount County Fair when both organizations had booths set up in the arena.
As the Closet 127 volunteers and Lee talked, Lee mentioned she had space at her insurance agency to house Closet 127 and offered it to them at no charge. A prayer was answered.
Since then, the room has been filled with plastic totes holding necessities such as new or gently used baby and children’s clothes, shoes, children’s blankets, baby bottles, and sippy cups, plus there are racks of jackets and coats, new packs of diapers and wipes, strollers, car seats, pack-n-plays, changing tables, bumbo seats, and so much more for those parenting foster, adoptive, and kinship care children.
The operation is run solely by volunteers who see this mission as an important way to help the community. The all-volunteer staff joyfully shares their time to bless the families Closet 127 serves.
Many volunteer man-hours accumulated prior to the official grand opening on Dec. 16. The team had to gather, sort, and check out pieces that would be given away. Their intent is to provide only quality pieces that anyone would consider using for their own child.
Closet 127 now has set hours of Monday nights from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The closet will also be open by appointment for those who cannot make it during open hours. Anyone who has items to donate can also do so during these hours.
At the present time, Closet 127 is in need of more 18 gallon totes to store items in an organized manner. Although the organization prefers using the Rubbermaid brand totes due to their sturdiness, they are open to use any that are donated.
While the idea is to focus on central Alabama including Blount, Cullman, Marshall, and St. Clair counties, Closet 127 will help anyone who has a need when caring for foster or adopted children. They simply need to be willing to pick up the items.
Closet 127 is located at 28254 State Highway 75 in the back of the Kim Lee State Farm Insurance Agency. Entrance to Closet 127 is located on the side of the building by the organization’s sign. For more information or to set up an appointment, call Hixon at 256-431-4428.