MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the holidays approaching, it’s the season of giving, and one Mid-South woman has been full of that spirit all year ‘round.
Tommie’s Raye of Sunshyne Closet collects everything a foster child might need: shoes, pants, shirts, dresses and even toiletries.
The organization was founded by Memphian Latoya Bogan, a foster mother who estimates she’s had more than 40 children in her house this year alone.
“I saw the need. They need clothing, they need hygiene items. I was finding myself giving my clothes away and I was like, I’ve got to do something,” Latoya said.
Latoya’s passion goes deep – she was once a foster child herself. She knows the emotions and struggles children in the system can go through, and she wanted to help kids across the Mid-South feel the same love and support that she eventually found.
“I get thank yous and ‘we really need this,’” Latoya said. “It overjoys my heart! I have been loving it.”
“She’s really just giving back to those kids what was given to her,” said Rickey Harris, Latoya’s adopted father. “Love was given to her, and she’s extending the love back to someone else.”
Holidays can be some of the toughest times to be in the foster care system.
“Every child wants to wake up to something. If it’s just one toy or one outfit, everybody wants to have something.”
Harris says anyone can make a difference.
No clothes, items or toys will go to waste, and Latoya has a simple answer when asked what donations mean to foster children.
“The world,” Latoya said. “It’s the world.”