The Lower Delaware Duffle Bag project began sewing the bags a year ago and has surpassed its goal of delivering 240 bags. The bags are made by an army of volunteers and are given to children as they are removed from their homes by social workers of the Delaware Division of Family Services. Prior to the duffle bag project, children were given garbage bags, the most readily available container, in which to carry their few belongings. Volunteers, individual donors and businesses have stepped up to support the duffle bag project to eliminate use of these garbage bags.
These children have often been traumatized by abuse, neglect or parental drug dependency. Some have special physical needs or education needs and many require special support to catch up both educationally and socially with their peers.
Melissa Higgins, Foster Care Coordinator for Kent and Sussex Counties and Christine Hoehn, Foster Care Families Recruiter discussed the impact of the Duffle Bag Project and other ways in which the community can support children in foster care as they transition to a more ‘normal’ life. Hoenh said, “We need more foster families. If you’ve ever considered becoming a foster parent but were afraid, you can test the waters by offering to provide respite care for a foster child while their regular family needs some time off for business or personal travel.”
“The volunteers who prepare the bags find the experience rewarding and that it adds meaning to their lives, “says, Pat Sendowski, Chair of the Sussex County Volunteer Delaware 50+ Advisory Council that sponsors the project . One such volunteer underwrote the cost of adding a label to the bags with the message ‘You Are Loved.’ Because she wanted to send encouragement.
Hilda Chaski Adams, who founded this endeavor thanked the many volunteers and donors that make the project a reality.