'Luggage With Love' Helps Kids On First Night Of A DHS Foster Placement
A new non-profit organization is making children in DHS foster care feel more at home by giving them a simple gift.
The group is called “Luggage With Love” and the care package they give children can help bring peace to disruptive and sometimes lonely situation.
Marcie Carrico from Norman started the faith-based non-profit out of her garage.
“It's a little bit of security for kids who don't think they have any at that moment,” Carrico said.
Luggage With Love serves children entering the DHS foster care system in Cleveland County.
“The first delivery we made, the child opened up everything and just started pulling out his clothing and said, ‘Is this all for me,’” Carrico told News 9. “It was like Christmas.”
Each child gets a suitcase full of outfits, pajamas, socks, shoes, underwear, toiletries and a jacket. One of 20 available volunteers deliver the suitcase to the foster home the child has been assigned.
“You can't make it any easier for a foster family on that first night,” Carrico explained.
It is a small package with a big message for a child coming into foster care, sometimes with just the clothes on their back.
“These are kids who have been treated probably as poorly as they could being removed from their own family and so to give them back a little bit of dignity, you just want to give them something so they realize how special they are,” Carrico said.
Shannon Dover volunteers with the group. She is a foster parent and knows how much support foster families need, too.
“We've been down that road and it's nice to go out and help people and reassure them that they are doing a good thing,” Dover said.
Each child also gets a Bible in their luggage and the group prays with the foster parents.
“You're raising someone else's kids in a world where you have no control over what happens, what decisions are made for them, so we want to give them a little bit of calm in their storm, too,” Carrico explained.
Luggage With Love delivers within 12 hours of getting a call for a new child in DHS foster care.
“I hope that they know that Jesus loves them no matter what the world looks like and no matter how chaotic it is,” Carrico added.
School-aged children also receive a backpack full of school supplies along with their suitcase.
Luggage With Love is moving into a 1,500-square-foot warehouse in January. The move will allow the non-profit to expand their services to Oklahoma, Canadian, McLain and Pottawatomie Counties.
Luggage With Love has already served 17 DHS kids in the first six weeks it has been operating. The organization plans to starting grief counseling classes for foster parents to help cope when a child leaves their home.
Luggage With Love operates on donations.