“The bus stopped. The door opened and the school children filed on one by one. On this particularly chilly winter morning, the driver stopped a little girl to ask why she wasn’t wearnig a coat. When she replied that she had none, the only question the bus driver asked was what her favorite color was.

That afternoon when the little girl boarded the bus, the driver handed her a clean, warm blue coat. Caring for Kids was born on that day, several years ago. Diane Formoso, the driver still recalls the incident and not without tears swelling up in her eyes. She vowed that day that no youngster in the Clover Park School District would ever go to school cold.

Today her mission has extended to two other districts, University Place and Steilacoom, of the Soundview UniServ Council. The Council itself has adopted a community outreach strand of its Union School and works side by side with Diane and Caring for Kids.

The annual Holiday Fair which uses Hudtloff Middle School’s facility took place December 12 & 13. The numbers vary, but more than 900 children were treated to some new clothing and a few toys. Families took home groceries and over 200 volunteers tried to make 350 families a better Christmas Holiday.

A few things have changed because of state codes and federal laws regarding non-profit status. But one thing remains the same, Caring for Kids, cares for kids. The Exchange Club of Tacoma has adopted Diane’s program allowing employees to give their United Way contribution directly to Caring for Kids. Council staff now volunteers time to help Diane with all of the bookkeeping. But no one gets a salary, department stores still call her with specials she can’t pass up, and people from around the community still pop up every once in awhile with a donation of clothing or money.

As volunteers for Diane’s Caring for Kids, we witness, year to year, the growing number of families in need. We see the list of volunteers growing also. We get frustrated at the number of hoops Caring for Kids must jump through at times. But one thing remains constant: tomorrow another child will stand in the cold, waiting for the bus and will need a clean, warm blue coat.” – Lyle Attebery


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