How to help children in foster care without taking a child into your home

Organizations are always looking for suitcases, backpacks, school supplies and other items

ROANOKE, Va. – There are other ways to help children in foster care other than bringing a child into your home. This time of year you can donate presents for the holiday season.

One hundred suitcases donated by the community and going to children in Roanoke. For social service workers, the gift is incredible.

“It means a lot. We all hear about children that are removed from their home or have to be moved to a different home and they’re packing their clothing in plastic bags such as trash bags. It seems like a small thing but it really means a lot to the child,” said Dana Jennings, a Roanoke Department of Social Services senior family services specialist.

“This was about restoring hope and letting them know they matter to everybody in society,” said Sean Burch, Spirit of Unity Baptist Church Pastor who organized the donations after spending 18 years in foster care. “It was totally overwhelming. There were some Saturdays I literally shed tears to see the outpouring of love and support for the community to come together and really stand together for each and every foster child in our area.”

Hundreds of suitcases were donated by the community for local children in foster care. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

They collected 600 suitcases that are being delivered to multiple foster care organizations that don’t have the budget for items like these.

But it’s more than just a suitcase for these kids.

“The removal from a home is a pretty traumatic experience anyways. To know that you have a suitcase and therefore your belongings aren’t necessarily trash that goes in trash bags that helps,” said Jennings.

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