Safe Haven Foster Shoppe Featured in Pioneer Press!
When a child is placed in emergency foster care, this group offers bottles, clothes and comfort. You can help.
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The call to Anita Olson came one night about two months ago. A child protective services worker was placing two toddlers and an infant in emergency foster care, and she needed help. A police officer had found the children, ages 3, 2 and 1, in the back seat of a car on Interstate 35E after pulling over their intoxicated father. They were wearing only diapers. “They had nothing else,” Olson said. “They were going into placement, and they didn’t even have an outfit to put on them to move them to where they needed to go.” Olson agreed to meet the worker and the children at the foster home where they were being placed. She brought a diaper bag and two backpacks filled with diapers, wipes, baby bottles, outfits, underwear, pajamas, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, blankets, books and stuffed animals. Olson is the executive director of Safe Haven Foster Shoppe, a non-profit organization that provides essentials to children in foster care and comfort during a difficult time. The organization, which serves 13 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, has helped more than 2,000 foster children since Olson and her sister, Terra Bastolich, founded it two years ago. They moved their headquarters to Lindstrom in Chisago County last summer and their storefront is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays for people to either donate items or volunteer. “I’ve fostered about 30 children, and every single one of the kids came in with nothing,” said Olson, a licensed foster-care provider who lives in Isanti. “They needed things to be able to go to school the next day, or to go to bed.”