Guardian Angels Suitcases 4 Kids
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.
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.
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!