A place for precious belongings

Published 7:28 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

For a child, being uprooted from a home can be a traumatic experience. This can happen when a social worker’s investigation reveals that a child is not safe in that home environment. While the preference is to place that child in the home of a relative, someone he knows and trusts, sometimes that’s not an option, and the child is instead placed with one of the many caring foster parents in the county system.

Imagine a child uprooted, having to gather whatever belongings she can take with her — clothes, shoes, school supplies, a favorite stuffed animal. Then imagine a child having to stuff all those worldly belongings in garbage bags because he doesn’t have a suitcase.

It’s a very unfortunate image. Fortunately, however, a group of East Carolina University students working on their master’s degrees in social work have launched a community service project and are collecting new and gently used suitcases, duffle bags and lidded containers for these children. They are asking for donations to their “Luggage for Love” campaign.

Currently, there are 89 children in the foster care system in Beaufort County. There might not be 89 gently used suitcases in a single attic, closet or basement, but there’s probably one — one perfectly good suitcase without wheels that was replaced by one with wheels; one perfectly good duffle bag that no longer serves a purpose hauling athletic equipment; or maybe one large, plastic storage container that is not storing anything anymore.

Rather than go unused, these items can serve a purpose and help the most vulnerable residents in the county by providing a safe storage place for the things they value.

Perhaps it’s time for a bit of early spring cleaning or a shopping trip to buy an inexpensive piece of luggage. It’s definitely a good time for the children in Beaufort County’s foster system to get just a little bit of comfort from having a place to keep their most precious belongings.

Donations are being accepted through March 30. Drop-off points include Beaufort County DSS, Beaufort County Emergency Management and Beaufort County Health Department, among others. Pickup can be arranged, if needed, by emailing luggageforlove@yahoo.com or calling 252-940-6038.