If you read this column regularly, you know it is about the goings on in Ashville: the Bulldogs, school and community events, store openings and closings and those honored for their achievements. Hence the name. And what or who is not covered today will appear next week. No important news will go unreported or local heroes unsung on my watch.

But this week's topic warrants an entire column: the local foster care state.

All foster children do not come from troubled backgrounds. Their parents are not necessarily unfit. Sometimes, they are just temporarily unable to care for them. But they are often taken from more than their homes and families. They are displaced entirely from school, church, friends, and extracurricular activities making it that much harder.

The Pell City Foster Care System is running out of Pell City Homes. So, they are reaching out to surrounding cities hoping to keep these children as close to their lives as close as possible.

Is there a city populated with more generous spirits and bigger hearts than Ashville? You feed your hungry, shop for your homebound, raise money for the victims of tragedies and the less fortunate. Now is one of the times when that spirit and those hearts are needed most. And how fortunate for a child to find himself in such a city and see, possibly for the first time, what many Ashvillians may have come to take for granted: what it is like to live in a community that is a community in the truest sense of the word.

Maybe you already have children but an extra bed. Maybe you're an empty nester and think you are too old. Or you have no children and think you cannot provide a suitable environment.

But for a displaced child, any safe place is a place to call home.

Call 205-812-2112 or 205-812-2158 to see what you can do or how you can help. The standards aren't stringent or even very strict. Safety measures most of us already have in our owns.

Every child is unique. Each has his or her own story. But they are all children and powerless to change their circumstances. They are all falling. And they all need, they all deserve a soft place to land.

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