Guardian Angels Suitcases 4 Kids

$1,860 of $1,850 goal

Raised by 18 people in 57 months
Jennifer Hart DeLeeuw  CHARLOTTE, MI
Hi, my name is Jennifer and I became a foster parent on January 31st, 2014. My husband Matt and I received the call while at lunch and made our decision without hesitation. That's not to say that it came without a lot of consideration, we just knew in our hearts that it was the right choice for us. What I did not realize was the impact that becoming a foster parent would have on my life!
After researching the foster care system, I was shocked to learn that there is such a need for foster homes in not just Michigan, but right here in our own community. These children are removed from their home for various reasons and need a safe, loving home to live at while permanent placement is established. Weather that is reunification with birth parents or placed with an adoptive family, we decided that we could provide that safe, loving home in between.
During my research I realized that some of these children often bounce from one foster home to another at various times throughout their lives. Not only are these children moved around from home to home, many of them carry their belonging with them in trash bags only. According to many blogs and articles I have read in the past few months, children that have to do this often feel like they are being thrown out with the trash. This absolutely broke my heart and I realized I wanted to help these children.
I contacted my foster care specialist to see if there were any programs in Eaton County that provided suitcases or large duffle bags to children who are placed in foster care. I was shocked to hear that there was not and at that exact I knew I had found my calling. After a lot of brainstorming, my husband's insane amount of encouragement and support, and a meeting with the Eaton County DHS office, Guardian Angels Suitcases 4 Kids was born!

Our mission is to provide suitcases or large duffle bags as well as a Care Bag to each child that enters the foster care system.

The notion of a Care Bag is a simple one. While a child is waiting to be placed, the social worker can hand the child a bag of age-appropriate items to occupy their time while in the DHS office. This bag is then theirs to keep and take with them into their new foster home. The required items in each bag are shampoo, conditioner, deodarant, toothpaste, toothbrush, flash light with batteries, 2 non-parishable snacks, 1 age appropriate book, 1 journal/coloring book/or pad of paper with pencils/crayons/markers, along with 7 other items such as toys, hair products, nail items, baseball cards or any type of item that would be geared towards the age and gender of the child.  Since many children enter foster care with very few belongings, the psychological importance of owning a bag full of nice things cannot be underestimated!

The money I am trying to raise is to get my 501(c)3 non-profit license. The application needs to be filled out by myself and a lawyer or an online source like legalzoom.com to make sure that the legal side of the application is correct. I have been given a quote from both a lawyer and a representative at legalzoom.com of $1000.00 for this service. Then I must send the application in to the IRS with a $850.00 application fee to get approved and licensed. I have been contacted by several organization that want to help Guardian Angels Suitcases 4 KIds with grant money, however the program must be non-profit with a 501(c)3 license.  Any money donated to this cause will go to the program 100% I do not have any employees and do not pay myself. This is 100% for the children who are in the foster care system. I hope some day to be able to extend this program through out Michigan and not just Eaton County.

www.facebook.com/guardianangelssuitcasesforkids
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Update 4
Posted by Jennifer DeLeeuw
57 months ago
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Thank you to everyone who has helped me reach my goal! I will be starting the non profit application soon. Any donations above the goal amount will be used to purchase flash lights, batteries, night light and snacks to be added to each care bag. These are the items I am currently in need of. Thank you all again for your generosity and support!
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Update 3
Posted by Jennifer DeLeeuw
57 months ago
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I can not even begin to explain my level of gratitude to each and every person who has donated to this cause! I am truly blessed to have such amazing people supporting this much needed program in Eaton County. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from each child who will benefit from this program. Every donation made after the goal has been met will go directly to the cause for supplies that are needed to complete bags for all ages. Once again you guys truly rock!!
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Update 2
Posted by Jennifer DeLeeuw
57 months ago
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THANK YOU!!! I have reached my IRS fee of $850 (I have recieved a check donation personally as well)! Now all that is raised from here on out will go towards the fee to have a lawyer assist me in filling out the application! The IRS highly recommends having some with non-profit and legal background help with the application process. Any money raised above the goal will be used to purchase new items to fill bags ages 0-12 months and 12 and over since those are the ages I am I need of items for. I can't say thank you enough to everyone who has donated to this cause.
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Update 1
Posted by Jennifer DeLeeuw
57 months ago
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You guys are awesome, Thank you so much for supporting me and helping me reach the $500 mark. Every donation weather its monetary or in kind will help build this program. I am truly blessed to have so much support from so many of you!
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Read a Previous Update
Crystal Carpenter
45 months ago

Jennifer Hart Deleeuw, we need to meet. I am the one who is getting the little 4 day old boy tomorrow, my first foster placement, and everyone was so helpful and recommended me talking to yo. I think we can help each other. I'd like to market your non-profit organization at our church and gather donations for this cause. This is the same vision I had. My heart was mostly geared towards pregant teens and I thought about getting them all a really cute bags or something so they didn't have to carry a trash bag around. Your a blessing. FB message me sometime and we can talk more.

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Pat DeLeeuw
57 months ago

Please donate to Jenns fund so that she and Matt can be of real help to all of the foster children in our area- they need everyone!

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$1,860 of $1,850 goal

Raised by 18 people in 57 months
Created May 7, 2014
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KC
$10
Kathleen D. Crooks
56 months ago

Caught the newspaper article. What a great idea. Wishing you continued success.

RL
$20
Renee Lester
57 months ago

Hey neighbor, this sounds like a great cause. Good luck to you.

EB
$20
Elaine & Jim Bursley
57 months ago

You are such an awesome person. Keep up the great work. This really is a great cause!

TF
$50
The DeLeeuw-Morgan Family
57 months ago

We maybe miles away but our heart will always be in Michigan. You are doing great things for these wonderful kids.

$1,000
Anonymous
57 months ago
$10
Anonymous
57 months ago
MB
$100
Mayor Carrie Burch
57 months ago
JM
$50
Joanna Morey
57 months ago

Let me know if there is anything we can do to help! ~Joanna, Justin, and Holden

TL
$50
The Laverty's
57 months ago

Jenn, you are such a great person with a huge heart! We love this Organization and can't wait to help you in the future! :-)

KL
$50
Ken Latimer
57 months ago

Great cause

Crystal Carpenter
45 months ago

Jennifer Hart Deleeuw, we need to meet. I am the one who is getting the little 4 day old boy tomorrow, my first foster placement, and everyone was so helpful and recommended me talking to yo. I think we can help each other. I'd like to market your non-profit organization at our church and gather donations for this cause. This is the same vision I had. My heart was mostly geared towards pregant teens and I thought about getting them all a really cute bags or something so they didn't have to carry a trash bag around. Your a blessing. FB message me sometime and we can talk more.

+ Read More
Pat DeLeeuw
57 months ago

Please donate to Jenns fund so that she and Matt can be of real help to all of the foster children in our area- they need everyone!

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