Community Spotlight: Hope in a Suitcase
Dec 1, 2020 | Our Community |
“I really needed some shoes and clothes and I’m glad that you could help me….It will be a memory I would cherish.”
–Samantha, age 13
Los Angeles has over 35,000 children in the foster care system, and at least 100 children enter the system on a given day. With statistics like these, it’s easy for all involved to feel overwhelmed, especially kids facing uncertain circumstances. Too often, a child or teen is sent to a foster care family with very little notice and only a few belongings in a pillowcase or trashbag. And foster families can be asked to take in a child on equally short time to prepare for a new member of the household and may not have all the essentials on hand.
The founders of Hope in a Suitcase, realize that kids in this situation need to have something that feels familiar gave them an idea. What if every foster kid had their own suitcase for toiletries, clothing and comfort items such as a favorite toy? For a child going through a chaotic family crisis, having something they can call their own close at hand can make all the difference. The family they are going to would also appreciate anything that could make the emotional transition easier.
West Coast Archives is proud to support Hope in a Suitcase with donations and volunteer time. The holidays are coming up fast and in light of recent events, families are feeling the economic strain of Covid-19 especially hard. If you would like to help out, please donate via the Support button.
“…it’s easy to miss the deep and layered impact of lack of access to basic clothing it has on children and families. What Hope in a Suitcase has developed addresses the layers of impact and builds up children and youth by instilling hope, conveying unconditional positive acceptance, extending kindness, modeling agency and empowering participants to use their voice and choice.”
–Sean Sparks, APSS/RSS Program Coordinator
What Hope in a Suitcase Does for Children in Foster Care:
1) Delivers fully-packed and personalized size, age and gender specific bags when a foster care agency partner alerts us that a child has been placed with a foster care family.
2) Stocks on-site closets at entry-point emergency response facilities so staff can focus on comforting and settling newly arrived children rather than scrambling for basic clothing essentials and comfort items
3) Organizes Shopping Days with social workers and CASAs for their highest need tweens and teens with active DCFS cases. “The Emporium: Foster Resource and Literary Center,” is run in partnership and shared with The Book Foundation and Foster Care Counts.
Delivering packed duffel bags to Hope in a Suitcase
Each care package consists of:
New roller suitcase or duffel bag
New Comfortable change of clothes
New Blanket, Stuffed Animal or other comfort item
A journal and/or a book (thanks to Make Good, Inc. / The Book Foundation!)
Toiletry kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, brush / comb, deodorant, etc.)
A handwritten note of support
“During my 20+ years advocating for LA county foster children, the thing that continually struck me was how resilient children can be. Despite the hardships they face, kids somehow find ways to keep laughing, playing and imagining. Often, it’s the little things at the right time, that really do make a world of a difference. I believe Hope in a Suitcase can be that initial reminder to let them know that they matter and that they are not alone.”
— Eufe de la Torre, Co-Founder