Gala to raise funds for foster care program

When asked about the struggles of being a foster parent, Donnie Twenter can think of only one — 11 people sharing one bathroom in the Twenter family farmhouse.

Donnie and her husband, Michael, have been parents for more than 20 years, but became foster parents a couple of years ago.

“We felt that we were called into the ministry,” Donnie said. “We said yes and everything fell into place.”

The Twenters have four biological children, Kalena, 20, Michaelah, 18, Mariah, 13, and Joseph, 10. They have one recently adopted son, Jayden, 15 months. They also have four foster children, ranging from ages 16 to 4 months. Mike has three children of his own, Monica Seidner, 36, Jessica Gerling, 33, and Jennifer Cheshire, 33.

“These children really are our future, and deserve love and security,” Donnie said.

The Twenters and their story will be featured at the fourth annual Forget Me Not Gala, hosted by the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association on Thursday.

The gala is at the Capitol Plaza Hotel from 6-8:30 p.m. The evening includes dinner, live entertainment, a silent auction, a live auction and an awards program.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said DeAnna Alonso, executive director of Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association. “It supports and keeps the doors open at our resource center.”

Since 2009, the association has served more than 65 families and 200 children in central Missouri. If needed, it provides foster families with clothing, food, training and other assistance services. It also assists 18-year-old foster children with transitioning into society.

“It’s our duty to make sure these children are taken care of the best that we can,” Alonso said.

The association helps provide some of the Twenter family’s needs.

“We attend monthly meetings that provide continuing education for foster and adoptive parents,” Donnie said. “It’s nice to mingle and hear other stories.”

Michaelah said fostering has been life-changing for her family.

“We’ve come together more and bonded,” she said.

Kalena said her family is blessed.

“I love being able to bring kids into our home and love them unconditionally while they’re here,” she said. “It means the world to me.”

Tickets for the gala are $35 per person or $60 per couple. They can be purchased at or by calling 298-0258. Businesses can purchase a corporate sponsorship ranging from $100-$1,000.


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