July 16: Cape Cod Foster Closet

Join us as Sharon Palmer and Carla Koehl introduce us to the work of the Cape Cod Foster Closet. Cape Cod and the Islands are home to thousands of children who are being raised by a  foster family or grandparent. The Cape Cod Foster Closet is here for them, offering free, often new, footwear, clothing, baby gear, school supplies and much more for infants through age 18. In addition, families can access resources and can find a community among other foster families. Learn how this organization got started, why the demand for its services is so great, and how families are finding resilience.

Sharon Palmer and her husband Andy are Eastham residents and foster parents. They have welcomed 29 children into their home since 2017, some for just a night or two, some for over a year. They felt called to provide support to other local foster families and in early 2021 they formed their nonprofit, Nurturing Foster Families, Inc. In March of that year, they opened the doors to the Cape Cod Foster Closet in Orleans, which provides clothing, footwear, diapers, baby equipment and so much more to foster families, relative caregivers (including grandparents raising grandchildren) and pre-adoptive families. They work closely with the Department of Children and Families as well as other agencies across the Cape and Islands in the hope that caregiver families will feel encouraged and supported. Earlier in her career, Sharon worked in healthcare as an office manager, and Andy was an orthopedic surgeon. When they aren’t busy running the Cape Cod Foster Closet or chasing the toddler they’re currently caring for, they enjoy gardening, golfing and sailing.

Before becoming Community Outreach Director for the Cape Cod Foster Closet in 2022, Carla Koehl (pronounced “kale”) worked in marketing for an Alzheimer’s residential community in Lexington, Mass., where she earned her CDP (Certified Dementia Practitioner) and became a “Dementia Friend”. Earlier in her career, Carla spent more than ten years in journalism, most of it as an Associate Editor for Newsweek magazine in New York. Following that, she started three small businesses, including one focused on move management for seniors, and another on organizational strategies for parents who have children with special needs. She also has served as co-chair of the Natick Special Education Parents Advisory Council. Carla grew up in New York City, is a Red Sox fan by marriage, and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. As new empty nesters, Carla, her husband, and their dog, “Bear,” last year made Centerville their fulltime home, and kayaking their part-time hobby.

Live at the Chapel in the Pines in Eastham at 10 on Sunday, 7/16. Doors open at 9:30. Also on Zoom. Register for the Zoom call by clicking here.