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'Without this, Thanksgiving wouldn't happen for them': Ventura County moms provide some foster families with holiday groceries

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KCLU
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MOMS Club of Westlake Village shopped for Thanksgiving groceries for some foster families in Ventura County

Thanksgiving dinner is a large expense for families – and a collective of moms in Ventura County is helping some foster families.

Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, these Ventura County moms are part of a local MOMS club in Westlake Village.

They’re not shopping for themselves, but putting together groceries for ten Thanksgiving meals, for local foster families.

Shannon Bozzone, one of the MOMS, says it’s about moms like her, supporting other caregivers in the community.

"Our MOMS club is moms offering moms support. Through that not only do we offer one another support, but outreach to the community," she told KCLU.

"We like to work with James Storehouse because they sponsor foster families, and even children that have outgrown the foster program, in our community.

"Each family will get their entire Thanksgiving meal in one grocery bag," explains Bozzone.

The groceries are dropped off at James Storehouse in Newbury Park.

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KCLU
Moms Shannon Bozzone and Diana Hanbury drop off the meals with James Storehouse in Newbury Park

Executive Director Stacy DeWitt says there are more children in need than ever.

"The increase in children entering the child welfare system right now is exponential. Because of children in school again, they're being seen by caring adults - so many many children are coming into foster care right now.

"Sometimes a teacher will see that a child is coming to school dirty or hungry."

DeWitt explained that when a child is removed from a home, they're often without their belongings, apart from the clothes they are in at the time.

"They usually have clothes that are dirty, or too small," she said.

They can collect new belongings from James Storehouse.

"We provide that for free, so that the child doesn't have to stay with the social worker or go to a shelter or a hotel, which increases the trauma for the children.

"We get to help expedite that safe placement so they feel safe and secure and loved."

She says receiving the Thanksgiving meals mean a lot to the families.

"Without the help, these youths and families wouldn't get to celebrate Thanksgiving at all. They don't have the extra funds to feed their families in the first place, so this extra Thanksgiving meal just wouldn't happen for them.

"This brings them hope and helps them know they're loved and cared for and not alone."