MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — A nonprofit organization in a Southwest Missouri county will soon be adding another service to its ministry. Organizers say it’s their next logical step to help young people and the adults taking care of them.

Angel Tree of McDonald County was started back in 2004, but members have felt it was time to start adding to its mission statement to include young people in the foster system and the families that take them in.

“Angle Tree of McDonald County has, in the past, worked with helping families with Christmas gifts and during that season we felt there was something more we could do with our community by helping with the Foster families,” said Kathy Smith, Co-Director, Angel Tree of McDonald County.

The ministry has had a lot of help from the retail world to make that transition possible.

“Clothing is definitely a huge thing. A lot of time kids come and they have nothing. Walmart graciously donated several suitcases. We run into a lot of foster kids that come with a trash bag or nothing at all so they have nothing to keep their clothes in,” said Alli Wylly, Angel Tree of McDonald County.

“We’ve got several folks that are going to be willing to help us sort. We are hoping to work with some of the student organizations here at the high school for volunteer hours to help with that as well, and a lot of it is just about you know the willingness to give something back and there’s a lot of folks that are wanting to do that,” said Smith.

“My hope is for these kids to feel like their county is stepping up to look after them and to make sure, and ensure that they’re being able to stay as close to the people they know and love as possible, even if they’re removed from the home for a short term basis,” said Wylly.

All of the donations the group has are now in storage until the building in Anderson can be retrofitted to be the site of the Foster Closet, as well as Angel Tree.