“I love being a part of something people can come alongside of,” Sarai Hathaway, co-founder of Harbor 30:1 ministry, said. “[I love being able to] make a new, positive memory for kids consumed by negative ones.”
For Jared and Sarai Hathaway, attenders at Grace Polaris Church, Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor), being a foster parent is more than just a way to help children people would otherwise feel sorry for. It is a way to build their family while also leaving a lasting, positive impact on those who call their home, home.
It was not until the Hathaway’s (pictured at right) became foster parents that they realized the desire people had to help children in foster care. Sarai said that others wanted to help, but they couldn’t be foster parents. It was then that Harbor 30:1 was born.
Harbor 30:1 is a ministry dedicated to reaching children in foster care. “[We named it] Harbor 30:1 [for two reasons]. When we receive a child [or name of a child], it’s like being at the receiving end of a harbor. We have no idea what to expect, but we welcome what we get,” Sarai said. The 30:1 comes from Psalm 30:1 which says, “I will praise you, Lord, because you rescued me…”
Through Harbor 30:1 people can become volunteers in a variety of ways. They can write birthday cards, send care packages, mentor, become a respite care giver, foster a child, and so much more. However, Harbor 30:1 will never accept monetary donations.
“Harbor 30:1 seeks to provide a multitude of avenues for people to use to be a part of a team… Make sure you keep all options open. Do what you can within your personal reach…We want to make new memories and build new relationships with [the kids]. The children know foster parents are paid to take care of them. By having people not in the system send personalized gifts, the children learn that people really do care,” Sarai said.
“Harbor 30:1 seeks to provide a multitude of ways individuals can care for children in crisis within their personal boundaries. We get the opportunity, with the small amount of time we have with these kids, to show them an outpouring of Christ’s love they will never forget. When that love comes from people not in the “system”, it reinforces that their worth is not defined by foster care. They are loved and they are worthy of love no matter what.”
Since founding Harbor 30:1, there have been events such as “Love your Birthday” in which people have sent hundreds of birthday cards, with events like this happening regularly. The Hathaway’s have also been foster and respite parents to over 20 children, and currently care for a newborn baby.
To learn more about becoming a volunteer or foster parent, sending cards and packages, or even starting your own Harbor 30:1 chapter, visit harbor301.com. Send Sarai a letter of encouragement at firstname.lastname@example.org.--by Grace Beight
Grace Beight is an intern at GraceConnect. She is a senior at Grace College and is from Amherst, Ohio.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.