Mission Statement

We give dignity to children entering into foster care by providing new clothing at the time of crisis.

Our Services

Intake Center

In 2012, a collaborative effort between the Foster CARE Closet and the Department of Health and Human Services was formed, creating the Intake CARE Center. This unique service allows children to have a clean, comfortable, and welcoming environment to wait while proper placement can be found. When a traumatized youth comes through the Intake Center's doors, we make sure they are fed and clothed, providing them, at no cost, 5 NEW OUTFITS including socks, underwear, and shoes. Through this service, we seek to manage the trauma experienced throughout the initial placement process.

Hope Chest

In October of 2014, a group of serious advocates for youth who have left or aged out of the foster care system met and created a partnership to serve the youth 19-24 who have little or no support system. Four professional nonprofits joined forces to establish Hope Chest, a shopping experience for older youth to get items such as clothing, small appliances, housewares, and other necessities to set up a home. Foster CARE Closet is proud to partner with Bridges to Independence, PALS, and Project Everest, helping older youth know they are cared for.


The Foster CARE Closet is an all donation-driven, volunteer run nonprofit. We are proud to be recognized as a Better Business Bureau Integrity winner for the way we serve our most vulnerable youth. In July of 2015, there were over 600 abused and neglected children in the Lincoln area. That’s as large as a senior class graduation! The Foster CARE Closet is here to show God’s love to His children throughout their duration in the foster care system by providing quality new or used clothing and other needed items. We do so in a respectful and dignified manner that allows insecure and scared youth to build confidence and self-esteem.

Additional Support

The Foster CARE Closet has become a source of love and support for many foster families throughout the state of Nebraska. But our efforts continue beyond the Intake Center and the clothing we provide. By leveraging our extensive network of supporters, we work to not only find items not commonly carried by the Foster CARE Closet, but also to connect families with a variety of other resources to handle their specific needs.

Prom Closet

The Prom Closet makes beautiful dresses available for any special occasion. Occurring in March of each year, anyone interested in looking great for their big day can schedule an appointment to purchase a high-quality prom dress for only $20, accessories like shoes, purses, perfumes, scarves, and shoulder wraps included. All proceeds go to support the Foster CARE Closet. Dresses may be donated at the Foster Care Closet or to Neicha Rife, 402-202-5323.


The Foster CARE Closet was founded in March of 2006 after founders Patrick and Leigh Esau recognized the need for quality clothing in the foster care system. Though several placements at their home, they came to the realization that almost all of the children came to their doorstep with only the clothes they were wearing - and nothing else.

These experiences and conversations with other foster parents helped them conceptualize the Foster CARE Closet,  leading them to start it out of their own basement! Beginning with simple donations from neighbors, churches, and community members, the Foster CARE Closet began offering quality clothing to foster children entering the system at no cost to them or their foster parents. 

Since then, the Foster CARE Closet has grown to include and support a variety of different services including the Intake Center and Hope Chest. Housed in a specialized facility in Lincoln, NE, the headquarters not only accepts donations from community members and houses all volunteer activity, but also works to source brand new clothing from local businesses and partners.


Leigh Esau
Executive Director
Garrett Esau
Assistant Director
Nathaniel Esau
Administrative Assistant
Chris Hansen
Ruth Ann Bartels
Andy Kafka
Vice President
Nathan Jones
Member at Large