ATLANTA — A new mobile Georgia boutique dedicated to kids in the foster care system has launched.
It feels like you're in an upscale boutique. It has soft lighting, hip music, and the hottest new accessories.
The Bloom Closet Express told 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross their mission is to restore dignity for children in the state system.
When kids climb into the store - they can pick out anything they want. They have clothes, shoes, accessories, and games. And it's all free.
"Sometimes you get a kid unexpectedly. And then you call and they're like, come on," said Yolanda Wilkerson.
She and her husband, Jerrard Wilkerson have fostered almost 70 children in 7 years. They said the kids often show up at their house with nothing -- just the clothes on their backs.
"It expands on our resources. This is a game changer," said Jerrard.
Now, when the mobile store rolls to their area, the Wilkersons can make an appointment and get the foster kids whatever they need.
"We are able to lavish attention on these kids. They're surrounded by people who care, and it restores their sense of dignity. Which is the first step towards healing," Bloom Executive Director Becky Davenport said.
"They're blown away! They're like wow! This isn't a thrift store, this isn't some bargain basement. This is a boutique," Bloom Board President Normer Adams explained.
The store accepts very gently used donations and gets a lot of new items from corporate sponsorships. DFCS Director Tom Rawlings said he wants to see the truck crisscross the state -- with the hope that it will make people think about foster kids in Georgia.
"It also helps to raise awareness - when people see the mobile bloom closet going around the community, I hope they'll say, what's going on with foster children? How can I help," said Rawlings.
There is only one Bloom Closet Express at the moment. The they are focusing on underserved communities in Georgia.
But the Wilkersons hope eventually Bloom will add more trucks, so more kids can shop.
"It's great. I've never seen anything like it, ever. Giving kids who don't have anything - giving them that experience. It's beautiful," Yolanda said.
They need children's clothing of all sizes to fill the boutique - plus toiletries, backpacks, anything a kid would need to feel like they fit in with their peers.
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