Life for kids in foster care is hard enough as it is, so one organization decided to do one small act which made a huge impact.
Together We Rise, a non-profit organization, aims to provide programs to help those children in the foster care system and this year, they decided to give the kids a generous gift.
Through the help of volunteers, 50,000 foster kids will be given “sweet cases” this year.
The “sweet cases” are duffel bags which have been decorated by the volunteers and filled with a teddy bear, a blanket, coloring book, crayons and a hygiene kit.
Together We Rise’s community manager Emmalee Jordan said the bags have been a big upgrade from the usual trash bags the kids are given to carry their belongings.
Jordan stated, “When children are entering foster care or transitioning between homes they are usually given two trash bags to put their belongings in. Often times, children are removed from homes very quickly and this is all that social workers have on hand, through these transitions, children often lose many of their personal belongings.”
Foster kids losing their belongings is exactly what the organization aims to eliminate.
This year, the 50,000 duffel bags given out is the most in any year since the organization was founded back in 2011. Since it was established, over 140,000 duffels have been distributed and they strive to keep going so that all foster kids are given one.
Jordan continued “The bags are important because they meet both the physical and emotional needs of children in foster care, physically, they provide a practical way for children to keep track of their belongings through their different placements and homes.”
In regard to the design and intention of the duffel, Jordan explained “Emotionally, the bags and the items inside provide comfort and a sense of stability to children going through a time of great instability and insecurity.”
She continued in saying,”The way the bags are decorated and filled are meant to portray hope to the children that are receiving them and instill in them a sense that they are valued.”
As for the response from the foster children, Jordan said they are “very excited when they receive their own bag and some of them even refer to the bags as presents.”
What makes it worth it for the organizers and volunteers is the happiness that it gives the children and the thanks they get are incredibly fulfilling. She finished by adding, “We have an entire wall in our office filled with thank you’s that we have received from children who have been given Sweet Cases.”