She was six years old when I met her.
Big brown eyes, a little Southern drawl and a pixie haircut.
I didn’t know then that this little girl would change my life.
She was in foster care and we were meeting one another for the first time.
She asked me if I owned my car because she said she sure did hate walking places. She was wearing a t-shirt that was far too big. She was eager to please and excited that pizza was on the evening’s menu.
I didn’t know then that this first grader would become my daughter, share my last name and stretch my heart to bursting.
Foster care is a part of the story that shaped my own family. Two of my children are adopted through the foster care system and several other foster children have called our house home for a season.
When I met Lindsey Hesketh, a local social worker and the COO of Fostering Great Ideas, I was impressed with her passion and her drive to see children thrive in foster care families and to encourage families to join the foster care world.
Currently there is a need for more than 1,500 safe homes for children in foster care.
Lindsey and her team work hard in a myriad of ways to show children their value, to connect homes with kids in need and to serve the foster families and foster children in their communities.
Currently, the team at Fostering Great Ideas is hosting a special event on October 17 at Trailblazer Park. It’s called Luggage Day.
Foster children often move unexpectedly and with little to no time to prepare. Frequently they are forced to carry their possessions in trash bags.
Luggage Day was created with the goal of eliminating that one small problem. It’s a simple gesture, but having a suitcase, carrying your possessions in something beautiful that belongs to you, regardless of which home you travel to, is a bigger deal than we might imagine.
When I met my daughter, in the story I mentioned above, I vividly recall what she was wearing and what she was holding. All of her worldly possessions were dumped in a black trash bag that she was dragging behind her.
That’s not okay.
In Greenville County right now there are 533 children in foster care. The goal of this October event is simple – let’s collect enough luggage for each child in the county to travel with dignity.
After the collection, foster families will come to pick out the luggage for the children in their care.
It’s as straightforward as that.
You can bring your donation of new (or very gently used) luggage – suitcases, duffel bags – to Trailblazer Park on Saturday, October 17 from 9 to 12. We’ll be there too.
If you feel led to do more, you can send donations here to help provide mentors, tutors and resources for children in foster care.
We’re thankful to work with Fostering Great Ideas, who is hosting this event in partnership with My PR Lab. Many thanks to the generous community sponsors we get to work with on this event too: City of TR, Creek Walk Tiny Homes, Wal-Mart, Steve White Audi, Greenville VW, Wildflower Cupcakes and Smoke Dreams BBQ.