A mom from Georgia who lost her eldest daughter in a car crash is turning her tragedy into a blessing by opening a free clothing store for children in need.
The boutique, called Blossom, officially opened on February 20, although it has been helping many kids even before that.
Founder Linda Durrence, 51, told Fox News Digital that Blossom will provide children in need with seven full sets of clothing and shoes for free. Families will be able to visit the store and get seven new sets of clothes every quarter for change-in-season clothes or if a child experiences a major size change.
Durrence dreamed up the idea for the boutique after losing her eldest daughter, Kristin, in a car accident in December 2016. She was only 27.
After her death, the Durrences and their two other daughters moved back to Glenville and attended a local church.
Their daughters soon became friends with three sisters in foster care who lived with another family attending the same church. In 2018, they learned that the sisters would be separated and moved to other foster homes.
Durrence and her husband decided to take in the two younger girls, Princessa and Juanita, until they could go home to their grandparents in Florida. Meanwhile, the eldest sister had turned 18 and left the foster care system.
In September 2018, the two younger sisters moved into the family’s home. Durrence said there was one thing she’d never forget about that day.
“The first thing that broke my heart was that they came with a trash bag that wasn’t even halfway full with clothes that didn’t fit them,” she recalled.
“They had one hairbrush. They did each have a toothbrush, but they only had like a trial size thing of toothpaste. They had no shampoo, no conditioner, no nothing.”
That weekend, the couple took the girls shopping and got them everything they needed.
As the girls settled into their new home, they noticed positive changes, with Durrence saying that they just “blossomed.”
After a few months, Princessa and Juanita were set to be reunited with their grandparents, but they loved their current home so much that they begged to stay. They didn’t want to move around anymore.
With the permission of their grandparents, Durrence and her husband adopted the girls in May 2019. The family kept in close contact with the sisters’ grandparents. The older sister now lives near them as well.
Although the sisters are already officially part of their family, Durrence kept remembering the trash bags they brought with them when they first moved in.
She said they were “financially blessed” enough to afford the sisters’ needs and wants, but Durrence understands it’s not the same for all foster families.
That’s when she started Blossom, a boutique for children in need. Currently, the free clothing store relies on donations and has received plenty of help.
The boutique’s name came from the transformation they saw in their adopted daughters.
“We watched them blossom and that’s where the name came from,” Durrence explained. “And what our hope is, is with Blossom, that it goes far beyond just kids coming to get clothes.”
Although Blossom just officially opened, Durrence already has her sights on the future. She hopes to open an education center to help foster kids stay on track in school. That same center would also give foster parents the resources they need to help their children.
“We just want other foster parents to know and foster children to know that the journey can be beautiful if everybody just pitches in and does a little bit,” Durrence said.
You don’t have to be a foster child to shop at Blossom; just a child in need of clothes. Shoppers should make an appointment so that Durrence can make sure that the store carries their sizes. It’s also to give them a private shopping experience because some kids get embarrassed.
This is a great initiative that could benefit many families, especially during this pandemic. You may follow Blossom on their Facebook page to get more details.
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