May 27, 2022 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

​Amanda Van Bussum, founder and president of Borrowed Hearts Owensboro, stands inside the store on May 24, 2022. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

As a support ‘movement’ for foster families, Borrowed Hearts Owensboro is ‘here for the whole journey’


One thing that foster parents desire “more than anything else” is “support,” according to the founder and president of Borrowed Hearts Owensboro.

Borrowed Hearts is a local ministry to children and families in foster care, providing donated clothing, hygiene products, and toys – as well as that much-needed support. All items are available for foster families to “shop” at the store free-of-charge.

Borrowed Hearts’ founder and president, Amanda Van Bussum, was a foster parent herself for 10 years. She understands the unique calling, as well as its unique challenges and joys.

A mural that reads “Borrowed Hearts: A moment in our arms, forever in our hearts” is seen on the exterior of Borrowed Hearts Owensboro, located on West 2nd Street in Owensboro. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

“It’s all stuff you learn, which you don’t know starting out,” said Van Bussum, who lives in Newburgh, Ind., and belongs to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Daylight.

Borrowed Hearts is located on West 2nd Street in Owensboro, where it has operated since it opened in 2019.

“On December 5, 2019 we officially opened – then Covid hit,” said Van Bussum.

She said the pandemic, the shutdown and its changing regulations made things difficult for the brand-new nonprofit, but “we didn’t want to stop serving.”

The board members came up with creative ways to continue ministering. They accepted donations on their own porches, coordinated with foster families by leaving items outside Borrowed Hearts’ door for the families to pick up, and even delivered items to families’ homes.

As restrictions eased, Borrowed Hearts began posting its open hours on Facebook, and later scheduled appointments for foster families to visit and receive individualized attention.

It turned out this was a great way to individually serve each family, and Van Bussum said they have continued this system even as the pandemic ebbs. Currently, they have slots available for two families every half hour during Borrowed Hearts’ open hours.

“Sometimes more than shopping, they need to talk,” said Van Bussum, explaining that time slots help with “being able to focus on the individuals.”

She added that they have separate time slots for donation drop-offs.

“We want to pour into the families at our store, and also affirm and validate the people who bring donations,” said Van Bussum.

Some of the shoe selections available in the kids’ section of Borrowed Hearts Owensboro. All clothing is provided free-of-charge to foster families. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

Welcoming place

The love and attention for this ministry is evident in the organization and aesthetic of the store itself.

The welcome area is bright, colorful, and full of toys for children to play with while the adults browse. Different clothing sections are organized by Baby, Kids, and Teen – all spelled out in pennant banner letters hanging above the doorways.

A quirky, multicolored wooden alphabet covers a wall of the Kids section, and signs with affirming messages are sprinkled throughout the store.

Van Bussum worked hard with Borrowed Hearts’ vice president, Hilary Patterson, to decorate the store in a way that did not make it look like “charity.”

It seems they’ve succeeded: she said visiting teens have commented on the “boutique feel” of the store.

Besides the clothing sections, Borrowed Hearts also offers ready-to-go hygiene kits for babies, children and teens alike when they are first placed with foster families.

“So you don’t have to go straight to Walmart with a baby,” said Van Bussum.

One of Borrowed Hearts’ board members, Amy Hunt, started an initiative of providing snack baskets for families upon initial placement, since “foster parents are encouraged to have snacks available,” said Van Bussum.

Socks, diapers and other items at Borrowed Hearts Owensboro are available for foster families upon placement. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

“Familiar foods can be such a comfort for a kid undergoing transition or who has been through trauma,” she said, adding that “Amy has even put together snack baskets for babies” containing snack puffs and yogurt pouches.

“Our families have been really appreciative, and think it’s really cool,” said Van Bussum.

Dedicated volunteers

Board members and volunteers alike are encouraged to share ideas as Borrowed Hearts continues to grow and offer more services to foster families.

“Not everyone is called to foster, but a lot of people are called to help in some way,” said Van Bussum.

She said volunteer Melanie Duckwall, who was a foster parent herself for a time, has started making “birthday kits” with her mother.

Each kit, enclosed in a colorful drawstring bag, includes an aluminum cake pan, cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, candles and a birthday card with some money or a gift card tucked inside. Children can come by at any time during their birthday month to pick up their birthday kit.

Van Bussum said everything at Borrowed Hearts has been donated “so obviously the biggest task is staying on top of donations.”

Another of their volunteers is Susie Jackson, whom Van Bussum described as “definitely our backbone keeping this all going” behind the scenes.

Borrowed Hearts Owensboro provides “birthday kits” to children in foster care, available for pickup any time during the child’s birthday month. The kits include cake mix, frosting, candles, sprinkles, and a birthday card with either money or a gift card. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

“She basically found out (about Borrowed Hearts) and came to volunteer from the beginning, and she helps us stay afloat and sorts those donations,” said Van Bussum, adding that “we’d never be able to keep up” without Jackson and her husband.

Borrowed Hearts has regular groups of volunteers, too, like Friends of Sinners, American Heritage Girls, and local student and youth groups.

Van Bussum said they are always open to more volunteers, and that people can keep up with the organization’s ever-changing material needs via

Looking ahead

Van Bussum said Borrowed Hearts serves about 40-50 children a month, and the ages span from babies to teens.

“Most families come and shop every season,” she said. Normally, they come to Borrowed Hearts upon initial placement but Van Bussum said they welcome and encourage families to visit even more frequently.

She emphasized that “this is the community’s way of supporting you… it is nice to know you don’t have to do it all yourself,” she said.

Toys sit on a shelf below a sign that reads “A baby has a special way of adding joy in every single day” at Borrowed Hearts Owensboro. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

Van Bussum said they hope to begin hosting support groups in September “for foster parents so they have that shared experience. To talk about those things that not everyone understands (and) to help fill each other’s cups.”

Borrowed Hearts offers events for foster families on a quarterly basis. Van Bussum said they have done a Christmas event with “pajamas and a pancake bar, an indoor snowball fight and pictures with Santa – and the Grinch!”

This summer they are planning a pool party, and later a fall party at the home of a foster family that has a farm.

Van Bussum said she wants Borrowed Hearts to be more than a store: “I want it to be a movement, where people can come and be filled up.”

“We’re here for the whole journey, we want to walk alongside them and not just at placement,” she said.


How to help

Borrowed Hearts Owensboro is located at 1705 W 2nd St. in Owensboro. To learn how you can be a part of Borrowed Hearts’ mission to foster families, visit, email [email protected], or call (270) 645-7835. Don’t forget to follow them on and

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