'Suitcases for kids' will help 400 foster children - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

'Suitcases for kids' will help 400 foster children

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) –400 foster kids around south Georgia will have a few extra gifts this Christmas thanks to a program called "Suitcases for kids.

They get their own personal suitcase filled with items purchased by generous folks in the community.

The Patticake house is a Children's Advocacy Center serving Tift, Turner, Irwin, Worth and Ben Hill Counties. The Suitcases for kids program started 6-years ago after a physical abuse case in which the children were taken into state custody with very little but the clothes they were wearing. This year, 400 kids will receive one of those suitcases, something that wouldn't be possible without the tremendous community outpouring.

Christmas can be a magical time for Children, but it can also be a very sad time for children who go without. But a special group of people are making sure that doesn't happen for at least 400 foster children in the area."All of the foster children receive at least two changes of clothing, a pair of pajamas, underwear and at least one toy that's been provided off a wish list by DFACS or the child themselves," said Melissa Wood, Forensic Interviewer.

For three weeks, employees and volunteers have been set up at the Georgia State Patrol Post sorting gifts and stuffing monogrammed bags for foster children. It's a way to provide child with their own personalized bag and a few extra Christmas gifts. "From churches to schools to individuals, we've had tons of community support," said Wood.

Mike Beman, a marketing teacher at Tift County High school thinks his students should be taught more than just the basic courses in school. "You've got your math, science, social studies and all your graduation courses but its nice to learn about social responsibilities," he said.

For years, he's brought this program up to his students as a way to give back this holiday season. "Giving back to the community is something that is sometimes overlooked at the high school student or at any level," he said.

This year students from the high school adopted 41 foster children this year, buying all the items themselves. "It is amazing to me to see the children and teenagers actually wanting to help other children, it's absolutely amazing to see that," said Wood.

Brooke Spinks say's she wants other children have a meaningful Christmas like she has had. "We went crazy in Wal-Mart and the Children's Place and basically bought out the store," she said.

"The ones that actually came out here to receive this stuff, we have actually seen them hit their knees and crying with joy that someone actually cares enough to do this for them," said Wood.

They are still need 41 bicycles, and more children enter into foster care everyday.

If you would like to help call 229-382-4141

The Patticake House
P.O. Drawer 1169
Tifton, GA 31793

Click here to visit the website

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