Volunteers delivered the first hand sewn, sturdy duffle bags from The Lower Delaware Duffle Bag Project to caseworkers of the Delaware Division of Family Services in November. Funders and volunteers of the project, including the Perdue Foundation, were on hand to celebrate the first gift of bags.
The project makes bags for the 240 children a year that enter the foster care system in Sussex and Kent Counites. Volunteer groups such as Nimble Fingers, a stitching group within Sussex County’s Volunteer Delaware 50+, sew the duffle bags. Through the Volunteer Delaware 50+ Advisory Council Inc., a 501 (c) (3) organization, donations of goods from individuals, New Life Thrift Store, Savoy Embroidery and Lowes and Home Depot support the project. A grant from the Franklin P. Perdue and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation Inc. assured that the project reached its goal for this year.
Pat Senkowski, President of the Advisory Council says, “We greatly appreciate the generosity of the donors to such a worthwhile project that touches the hearts of so many children and volunteers.”
“It’s terribly sad to think of children being taken from their homes – often times due to reasons they don’t understand. It is even worse when one realizes that they are sometimes asked to stuff their belongings into a plastic garbage bag, the most readily available container,” Hilda Chaski Adams, who coordinates the project says. “We do not want foster children to equate themselves with garbage, something disposable that no one wants. A well-constructed duffle bag of their own just might bolster a child’s self-esteem during a very bad situation.”
Foster Care Coordinator, Melissa Higgins says of the project, “So many times, children enter foster care with little or nothing. The duffle bag enables our children to have something of their own in which to put their belongings. The bag becomes theirs and then can be used for camp, sports or travel.”
“The number of volunteers who have stepped forward to make this project a reality is amazing. In just two months, over 58 individuals came together to prepare and sew the duffle bags,” said Ann Gorrin, Volunteer Delaware 50+ Program Manager for Sussex County.
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