An online platform is working to bring together children, families, churches and the community by connecting local organizations to hundreds of local children in need.
CarePortal is a nonprofit online platform that connects churches to help fill requests from local schools and other agencies.
The organization originated in Texas, with its home office in Kansas City, and has been around for almost seven years now, but made its way locally to Clark County and others as of last year, said Aaron Earlywine, regional manager for CarePortal.
CarePortal is active in 31 states, including Ohio, where it started out in the Montgomery County and Columbus areas.
“As it continued to grow, Ohio noticed and last June, CarePortal was funded through the Ohio legislature as a support for the Ohio Department of Education and Jobs and Family Services,” Earlywine said.
The platform was piloted last school year and activated in the Springfield City School District, as well as Cliff Park High School, Pregnancy Resource Center of Clark County, Choosing Hope Adoption, Encompass Connection Center and OhioKan (Kinship and Adoption Navigator).
Since the platform started in Clark County, 881 children have been served with an economic impact of $89,789.
The schools and agencies put needs into the CarePortal and then one of several churches locally gets those requests and can respond directly to the families who need help. The churches include Mulberry House of Hope, Grace Evangelical Lutheran, Restoration at Hillside, First Christian, Fellowship Spring Hill, DreamCity, Champion City, Riversong, Liberty Baptist Temple, Living Water Orthodox Presbyterian, and Restoration Park.
Families could need help with things such as beds, coats, rent or utilities, for example.
With the CarePortal being an online tool, the Nehemiah Foundation is the nonprofit that helps organize it locally as they are an “umbrella organization” with over 30 ministries.
Tami Carter of the Nehemiah Foundation serves as streamline initiative/CarePortal ambassador. She said the Nehemiah Foundation is the “brick-and-mortar” to operate out of for the online tool.
“Our passion is to bring together the faith community around common concerns and needs within our community. CarePortal is an amazing tool that makes that connection so much easier,” she said.
“It’s an honor to introduce this tool to churches just to say we recognize that you already have the passion, heart, resources, but sometimes just lack the connection. It’s hard to know where the need is, and CarePortal takes the guesswork out.”
Carter said the Nehemiah Foundation has four pillars that are foundational to what they do that include four pathways. , The portal is in the pathway called streamline initiative, which is blessing kids through church and school partnerships.
“CarePortal connects with people in need with people who care... It’s about meeting people at their point of need and making a connection with them where they feel seen, known, heard and valued,” Carter said.
Last year in Ohio, more than 3,100 children were served with an economic impact of more than $2 million. As on overall organization, CarePortal reports more than 170,000 children have been served.
Earlywine said it’s the churches, schools and organizations that do the work, and CarePortal is just the tool that helps connect them.
“The beauty about CarePortal is its ability to try to help provide the tools for parents to be successful. One of the things that drew me in to it is the idea of trying to connect families to communities that are supportive and helpful, and that’s what churches are — communities that can be supportive and helpful,” he said. “A lot of people out there don’t have a supportive community. It’s good to provide them a tangible need and connect them with a group of people for the future is huge.”
As part of CarePortal, Earlywine covers Clark, Champaign, Montgomery and Greene counties, and soon will add Miami and Logan counties. He moved to Springfield from Oregon, where he was in ministry for about 15 years.
“CarePortal is a way for churches to receive vetted needs from child professional agencies that have their eyes on the kids and know what those children need, so the vetted requests gives an opportunity for the church that has the resources to step in and care and love the families and provide what many struggling families need,” he said.
The portal is funded through the state legislation, but the requested needs are funded through the churches.
Carter said the more churches that get on board to help, the more children will be served.
The Nehemiah Foundation will also host an event called the Winter Spotlight for an inspirational night of storytelling, word art and connection from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 at the John Legend Theater that will have representatives from the CarePortal for those who want to sign up or learn more. It’s free and open to the public, but registration is required on the event page on the Nehemiah Foundation website.
The local chapter of the CarePortal is always looking to add more churches, schools and agencies. If interested, contact Carter at email@example.com or Earlywine at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit CarePortal.org.
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