BOUNTIFUL — In January, the LDS Relief Societies of the Bountiful Val Verda Stake, together with the community began an ambitious project of creating 800 care bags for children entering foster care.
Last weekend they achieved their goal, filling 812 bags for children living between the Utah-Idaho border and North Salt Lake.
Goal or not, it’s not enough. Barbara Kime, Val Verda Relief Society President hopes that now, others — families, other churches, community organizations, will pick up the slack, because “once these bags are gone, these children going into foster care won’t be getting them,” and their contents can mean so much to a child who often feels alone and scared going into foster care. “My heart’s desire is to make the project run on a continuing basis,” Kime said.
Information on putting together foster care bags can be found on the Web at www.fostercarebags.com. Kime said the bags don’t have to contain the same items as the one put together by the Val Verda Stake, but they should have comfort items, like a blanket and stuffed animal, to make a transition into foster care easier for kids.
Kime said volunteers who have had foster children told her most came into the system with nothing, and “having a care bag would have meant the world to them.”
Each care bag contained a teddy bear, a football or soccer ball (for boys) and a doll (for girls), and a fleece blanket. There were also books, pillowcases, socks, hygiene items and snacks. About 175 people of all ages worked to fill the bags.
The bags were presented later that day to Mindy Lundgreen at the Christmas Box house in Ogden, for distribution to children in northern Utah. Some 700 children were placed in foster care in northern Utah last year, and there are 2,800 children in foster care in Utah. The participating wards stepped up to donate money and items, and local businesses pitched in.
Both Smith’s and Wal-mart donated cash and offered discounts on needed items. “We couldn’t have done it without their support,” Kime said.
Barnes and Noble gave 500 books, one woman gave 375 teddy bears herself. Another donated fabric for pillowcases which had belonged to her sister who recently passed away.
Others who contributed included: Bountiful Music, Slim Olson’s, area hotels which donated hygiene items, BP in Bountiful,Commerce Real Estate Solutions, ZeroRez carpet cleaners, City-wide Home Loans, Top Hat Video, patients of chiropractor Troy Giles and the Mom’s Club of Bountiful, which provided one ward’s contribution of fleece blankets, individual donors, and a $41.04 donation from the 3rd Ward Primary children. Kirham’s and Colonial flag donated fabric used to make the bags.
Each ward had a project leader and members throughout the stake helped.
Kime heard many sweet and touching stories as the bags were filled.
One woman told her sons they should hug each bear as they put them in the bag, so the young recipient “would feel the love,” the two boys felt for those receiving the bags. “They were squeezing those bears really hard,” Kime said.
One of those boys also told a volunteer she shouldn’t put the bear face down in the bag, she was to let the head of the bear be out of the bag so the bear could see who he was being given to.
© clippertoday.com 2010