Saluda UMC partners with community groups to create foster care home 

Published 1:17 pm Monday, February 20, 2023

SALUDA–Saluda United Methodist Church recently partnered with local community organizations to provide housing for foster children.


The church purchased an adjacent house that once belonged to Saluda resident Camille Alexander. When Alexander died in December 2021, her friends in the church knew she wanted her home to become a place of value to the community.  

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The Department of Social Services had reached out to the community looking for better ways to serve foster children in Polk County. A lack of foster homes in the county meant children were being placed away from their community, their schools, and their families. At the same time, Crossnore Communities for Children, an organization that has provided residential care for children in North Carolina for over 100 years, was seeking a different way to serve this population.


Like a whirlwind for good, all these forces came together and the church bought the property, with the help of committed citizens of Polk County offering financial resources and the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina providing the mortgage. 


Wesley Community Development gathered its resources and helped the church go through the necessary steps to purchase the house. Crossnore agreed to partner with establishing a Professional Foster Care Home at the newly acquired house next to the church. The Church Family committed their support of the family and children who will reside in the home. Dogwood Health Trust provided a grant to the church to assist in purchasing and renovating the home. 


The house was built in the 1920s and, although it had been maintained, updates were needed including new electrical and heating/cooling systems, energy-efficient windows, additional bathrooms and some cosmetic changes to brighten the interior. Renovations have started on the house and interior changes will be dramatic.


A Building Committee was formed from church members to oversee the work that had to be accomplished. Once renovations are complete, Saluda UMC plans to have an open house for the community to see the new home for foster children. 


A Professional Foster Care Home involves parents who have had specialized training in working with children who have experienced trauma in their lives. These parents are dedicated to providing a loving home for children. As professional foster care parents, they will always be available for school conferences or routine medical visits, just as any other mother and father would be. Crossnore will administer and oversee the program with the Department of Social Services having responsibility for foster care placements.


These children will be surrounded by a community that cares for them. The parents will guide and assist with identifying needs and the Saluda United Methodist Church family promised to help in any way that is needed.  At the same time, the Saluda community will hopefully become involved in supporting this outreach.


Saluda residents should expect to see children playing in the front yard, swinging on the porch swing, and doing homework at the porch table in the near future. They will see a family enjoying living in the Alexander House and, if they look closely, they may see Camille smiling down on her home now filled with love, laughter, and caring.


If you are interested in learning more about this joint effort of the Saluda United Methodist Church and the community organizations that helped make this dream a reality, email


Saluda United Methodist Church recently partnered with local community organizations to purchase the Alexander to provide housing for foster children.