By Allyson Dix, Managing Editor / Barren County Progress
Nona’s Nest, Inc. is inviting the community to a fundraiser benefiting foster, adoptive, displaced, and at-risk children. The event is slated for April 15 and tickets are available now.
The non-profit store opened its doors in 2021 and has continued serving foster children across the region ever since, but to continue the work, Nona’s Nest needs your help.
Founder and President of Nona’s Nest, Jini Payne, opened the non-profit store as a way to serve those with the least in our communities. Through donations, foster and adoptive parents can seek out resources at no cost for items they need while providing for the children they take into their homes through the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS).
When families receive a call in the middle of the night for child placement, sometimes they come with nothing but the clothes on their backs and maybe shoes on their little feet.
Nona’s Nest is a place where those families can quickly obtain free items like basic necessities, clothes and shoes, diapers, bedding, furniture, toys, books, car seats, and more.
With around 10,000 children in the Kentucky Foster Care system, Jini said since the store’s inception, over 400 children have been served in Barren County as well as surrounding counties.
Area schools and churches as well as volunteers, businesses, and community partners play crucial roles in keeping the store going and Jini said, “We are so thankful to those who take the time to help the store in so many different ways.”
The resource store outgrew its previous location and is now housed at a local church. In addition, more storage was also needed so Nona’s Nest purchased a storage building, which came with a heavy price tag for a charity organization.
Before purchasing the new storage building, items were stored in typical storage units, which made it difficult to organize donations in a manner that would allow finding items easy or quickly. The new purchase allows the store to quickly find necessities children need when they come in.
Jini said one of the main goals for the organization is to pay off the building because that $300/month expense takes away from the children each month. The required non-negotiable insurance to operate the nonprofit sits at $3,000 per year as well.
Nona’s Nest is one of a handful of resource stores across the Commonwealth that serve foster children and now is the time to consider the nonprofit organization’s upcoming fundraising event.
Denim & Diamonds is set for the evening of April 15 at the Parkview Event Center in Glasgow. Plans for the evening include dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Tickets for the evening can be purchased through EventBrite.com or by contacting Nona’s Nest.
Also encouraged for community partners and businesses are ways to raise money for the store in simple ways such as setting out donation jars, employee incentives for raising the most money, or bake sales.
“My main focus is always the children,” Jini said, “But we can’t help the kids without cash, it’s impossible.”
With record-setting inflation, Jini pointed out the costs for items are so much more expensive now.
While people do donate items to Nona’s Nest, Jini explained, “But sometimes kids need things that we don’t have in the shop and usually we can put the word out and people help.”
“But when a family finds themselves, especially a family member whose brother got arrested and they need to pick his five kids, they don’t have money laying around for five mattresses,” she said.
It’s important to note that when children are removed by the state, they require each child, no matter the age, to have their own beds. “So sometimes we have to do cash for those things to pay for them including the beds and sheets,” Jini added.
It takes an average cost of $250 to $500 to provide just the necessities when they are placed in care and although foster parents are given a small stipend to care for these children, it is a mere fraction of the true cost.
“We serve children in out-of-home care,” Jini explained, “That means if you’re being raised by anyone other than your biological parents.”
Fictive kin, kinship, or foster placement caregivers are given paperwork through DCBS and Nona’s Nest does require documentation of this proof to utilize the free resources in the store. Individuals sometimes do not receive that paperwork right away, but social workers can contact Nona’s Nest to verify the placement.
Jini said two particular Bible verses are inspirations that have guided her along the way.
“I’ve always said, and taught my kids since they were tiny, to whom much is given, much is expected,” Jini said, referencing Luke 12:48.
The other verse, Matthew 25:40, references caring for the least of these.
Jini spoke on the lack of value people, in general, do not place on the least of us, the children.
“We do not treat children like they are valued and my goal is for children to come in my shop and feel valued,” Jini said, “If we don’t value our children, we’re not valuing our future because the children are our future and if we have a whole generation of hurt, broken, abused, neglected, and devalued children, what is our society going to look like next generation?”
Jini has fostered children for over a decade and understands firsthand the world that comes along with it. She hopes to leave a mark on all of the children that pass her way by ensuring they feel valued and loved. Through Nona’s Nest, this opportunity is one way she can do that and the upcoming Denim & Diamonds fundraiser in April will be a tremendous help for that work to continue.
Tickets are $25 for entry. Additionally, different sponsorship levels and VIP tables are also available that include recognition in various ways. For more information and ways to donate, contact Jini Payne via e-mail email@example.com, visit Nona’s Nest on Facebook, or call (270) 791-3162.