Bags of Hope in New Mexico
Just the facts...
This year 300,000 kids will enter foster care with whatever they can grab in about 2 minutes. Some come with nothing but the diaper on their butt. The majority will arrive at their new home with the "Official luggage of the foster care system" AKA a hefty bag. Would you want a child you know to go thru this? No...I think not.
I know you are thinking...what about the foster parents? Well, if a kid is in your home for a couple days you really cannot afford to buy lots of stuff to plan their departure. My state pays foster parents a whopping $9.70-$12.80 per day...yeah you read that right. This has to include clothing, food, transportation, toys, bedding, birthdays, Christmas, furniture, car seats, fun stuff, school pictures...really the list is endless. Sometimes just getting them clothing is the biggest priority. However like most other foster parents I have given out every bag I own and then some to move kids. After 7 years that is about 15 duffel bags, 8 pieces of luggage & 50 backpacks. We also keep a good stash of tubs just in case we need to move lots of stuff.
How you can help? It's easy, everyone has spare backpacks, bags, luggage, duffel bags, or tote bags cluttering up their closet! Do a little spring cleaning & help out some kids so they don't feel like a throw away child. Every city or town has drop off just for foster kids, and if you have a bunch of stuff they will usually find a volunteer to come by & pick it up! A tireless crew of awesome helpers clean up the bags & get them ready for the kids that need them.
If you're not sure where to donate in your area please contact me & I'll be happy to find the resources for you.
This is Not a suitcase!
New is nice too!
Kids in foster care get hand me down everything. They live at a strangers house, have weird sheets, a room that countless kids have lived in...you get the idea. So imagine their delight to have something new...and all theirs!
So next time you see backpacks on sale lot up! Then stock them will fab stuff like crayons & coloring books. Don't forget those older kids that might want a journal or glitter pens. It may seem like such a small thing but these kids deserve some happy in their lives. For just $20 it could mean the difference between using an old shopping bag to head off to school & a shiny new Hello Kitty backpack. If you're like me then you are a thrifty shopper, I stock up on a dozen or so backpacks every fall after school starts. That 's perfect for the next summer backpack drive! You get 9 months to hunt for fun goodies to load into the packs...how cool is that?
Don't have time to shop?
- Children's Action Network : A Project of the Tides Center
Children's Action Network is dedicated to finding homes for the more than 129,000 children in the United Staes who are waiting for an adoptive family and improving outcomes for the more than 500,000 children in foster care.
- Duffels for Kids
Collecting cash for kids to each get their own bag.
- Together We Rise: Improving the Lives of Children in Foster Care
Together We Rise is a non profit dedicated to improving the lives of foster children in America by funding programs that give them a sense of normalcy, comfort, and build self-esteem.
- Welcome to MyOwnBag.org
Make a donation & this company will stuff a bag for a foster kiddo in need. It's super easy & you'll even feel good about it!
Sweet Cases for kids in Foster Care
What else do they need?
These kids travel light & not always because they want to. They often don't have their own blanket or favorite toys when they arrive. They may not have many clothes & those they do have may not fit very well. All in all it's just a cruddy time for them.
So what would make them feel more normal?
- Toys of course!
- New kid friendly blankets.
- Plush toys (even the older kids love these)
- Fun accessories for teens...Shades, necklaces, earrings, rubber bracelets, You know cool stuff that all the teens have.
- Dig out your old iPods! This will make a kids entire year. Toss in some new ear buds & maybe a iTunes gift card for good measure.
- Anything for their rooms, lava lamps, fuzzy pillows, goofy posters...kids love to make that spare room feel like theirs.
- Those cool notebooks with design, fancy pencils, the BIG box of crayons, coloring books, markers, glue sticks, colorful rolls of tape, a snazzy pencil case. Again anything that can help then feel normal.
These things won't get them home faster or fix the bigger problems in their life. They will still be foster kids, they just don't have to Feel like foster kids.
© 2014 Samantha Lynn
What do you think?
Cjg on April 05, 2016:
Thank you for the awareness....I think to volunteer at food pantries and school things but never thought about this.....will be doing some research on how to do something locally. Thank you so much!
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 06, 2014:
What a wonderful idea. It would be so great to make those kids happy. Thanks for the suggestions.
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on September 14, 2014:
I only did this once since my funds are limited. I was given a Christmas wish list that a child had made up and I went shopping. It was fun buying Barbies and pretty clothes (all-color-cordinated so she could mix and match), packing them into a little suitcase, and imagining how delighted this little girl would be on Christmas morning. I only wish I could have given them to her personally. You have moved me to do it again this Christmas.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on August 31, 2014:
I'm ashamed to say I've never thought of that. :( Now I need to find a local place here where maybe I can donate. Thank YOU for fostering and for making us aware!
Ann from Yorkshire, England on August 28, 2014:
I had no idea - makes you stop and think doesn't it?
rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on August 28, 2014:
I had no idea. This is so sad to hear. I have so much stuff that I need to donate. You've presented a need that I just have not thought about it. I will look into this further. Wonderful, helpful hub!
Angela F from Seattle, WA on August 28, 2014:
Great hub. Inexpensive laundry duffel bags are an easy thing to donate. You've reminded me I need to get a few new ones and drop them off.
Elizabeth Lynn Westbay from United States on August 25, 2014:
I just couldn't imagine fitting everything I know into a garbage bag as I child. So crushing. I am glad you are bringing light to issues like this.
Fay Favored from USA on August 25, 2014:
Like colorfulone I couldn't answer the poll because there wasn't a yes choice. Being a teacher I see a lot of this dealing with child study teams. It's easy to get involved like you said with starting in our homes to see what we already have. Our community and churches in the area have a giant back to school drive at the civic center for each child receives new underwear, backpacks full of school supplies and winter clothing. Thank you for bringing this into the light. Hopefully it will get others on board.
Robin S from USA on August 24, 2014:
Thanks for opening my eyes to this. I had no idea.
Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on August 20, 2014:
Sad to think they move their belongings in trash bags; I'm visualizing it and it's heartbreaking. Good suggestion for us to donate to a drop off for foster children.
GrammieOlivia on August 20, 2014:
What a great lens. I have worked with homeless people, but never saw what kids go through. Thanks for opening my eyes. I think I need to shop now!
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on August 20, 2014:
My sister-law does foster caring here in NZ. I think they arrive with more than a trash bag for their belongings. Must find out a little bit more about this subject here.
k macelhone on August 20, 2014:
I have been doing foster care for years and the children always come with trash bags...or nothing at all. It is true any new item a foster child receives is like Christmas to them. Luggage would be a great item to have.
William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on August 20, 2014:
Great food for thought! Thanks for sharing! ;-)
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on August 20, 2014:
I use to do foster care, and the children that came to my home had garbage bags to carry their belongings in. Except for a teenage girl, who had luggage.
I couldn't answer your poll.