DOVER — A charitable local sorority has delivered a much-needed batch of toiletries, bedding and cleaning products to the K.I.S.H. Home, a shelter for former foster children in Dover.
Latonya Elliott, a member of Dover’s graduate chapter of Zeta Phi Beta — a largely African American sorority that also has an undergraduate branch at Delaware State University — helped organize the drive.
She said the sorority collected 350 items, enough product to fill three cars. Kishma George, K.I.S.H.’s founder and director, said the Saturday delivery would keep her shelter’s four residents stocked until at least July.
“March is Women’s History Month, but for the sorority, it’s also Finer Womanhood Month, which is one of (the sorority’s) ideals,” Ms. Elliott said. Its other three ideals are sisterhood, scholarship and service.
“I thought it would be a great idea to donate to a women’s shelter of some sort,” she said.
Ms. Elliott did some research on women’s shelters in the Dover area and found the K.I.S.H. Home.
“K.I.S.H. really stood out to me because of what she’s doing for these women,” she said of Ms. George. “I thought it was great that she wanted to take the women who had aged out of the foster care system and basically get them ready for adult life.”
Ms. George said K.I.S.H. stands for “Kingdom Investment in Single Hearts.”
As a longtime volunteer in the Dover community, she has been running her own nonprofits since 2008. In addition to a mentorship program she created for females ages 5 to 25 in need, Ms. George heads K.I.S.H. specifically for former foster children.
“I just started a transitional home for youth aging out of the foster care system five years ago,” she said. “This Monday will be five years.”
Currently, the program is only available to women in that position aged 18 to 25.
Ms. George knows from personal experience that many foster kids don’t get the help they need transitioning out of the system once they turn 18.
“Several years ago, I worked for a nonprofit here in Delaware,” she said. “I had a young man who had just aged out of the foster care system. What happened was, that day he aged out, he didn’t have any place to go. We drove around here in Dover, and all the shelters were full.”
The story didn’t have a happy ending, at least not immediately.
“He had tears running down his face. He told me, ‘Kishma, I don’t have anywhere to go,’” she said. That night, he slept outside.
“The next day, I took him to the legislature, and one of the senators helped me get him into a shelter,” Ms. George said. “That gave me, as an advocate, 30 days to get him into his own home and to help him find a job.”
She didn’t want to see another client go through that, so she decided to take the situation into her own hands.
Ms. George recently expanded her target demographic for the shelter.
“I also added on another population, which is single women who are homeless,” she said.
Although many of the donations were from members of the sorority chapter, Ms. Elliott said she also received items from unaffiliated Dover residents and even people living as far away as New York City.
Ms. George said she was thrilled to receive the goods.
“They were the ones that contacted me. They wanted to make a difference and help the nonprofit,” she said. “That was a really big blessing for me. I was really overwhelmed.”
K.I.S.H. could always use more donations, though. Those interested can call Ms. George at 399-6477 or email her at email@example.com.