Interview with Lynette Kaichen Founder & Executive Director
What is your organization’s mission?
The Pass Along Project creates gender-specific, pre-made clothing bundles in specific sizes that are ready to go on a moment’s notice for children entering foster care. Each bundle is a complete clothing wardrobe, including seven days of outfits, new socks, new underwear, new pajamas, sneakers, a coat, and seasonal gear—similar to what most families would purchase at the beginning of a school year. Our program delivers the bundle directly to the foster home, usually within a few hours of getting the call.
Who do you serve within the Greater Lakes Region? And through what programs and services do you serve them?
Children entering foster care feel hopeless to their core. Through the gift of clothing, we show them they matter and restore a small shred of dignity during their darkest hour. When people dress their best, they feel their best.
How do you impact peoples’ lives?
Beyond the impact to the child receiving new clothing, our program is a valued resource for foster parents who may otherwise be unable to say “yes” to their next placement out of financial concern.
How has funding from the Greater Lakes Children’s Auction benefited your organization?
Funding from the auction was instrumental in expanding this program in the Laconia area and in our ability to expand our work in the Plymouth area.
What kind of feedback do you get from those you serve?
I’ll never forget one delivery I made for a 14-year-old boy. When I brought the clothing package inside, the foster parent called out to him. He came to the entry, head-hung-low, wearing dirty, worn-out clothing and no socks—in the winter. As he came closer, she explained, “This is for you” and held her hands wide over the giant tote bag full of about 25 pieces of clothing in exactly his size. He looked up, wide-eyed, and said, “This is for me?”
“Mmm, hmmm,” I said.
“All of it?” he asked, this time his voice shaking as he pulled a few pieces from the bag.
“Yup, all of it!” I said proudly.
“Who did this for me?” he asked, with tears in his eyes.
“Well, many, many people got together to create this clothing kit just for you—and I got to deliver it. We hope you like it” I said. He just stayed there nodding “yes” while sobbing.
Interview done by Janice Beetle Books.