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Donations Sought for 'Hope in a Suitcase'

Nov 02, 2016 08:51AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
You and your family can make a difference in the lives of children entering foster care in Los Angeles, at this week's "Hope in a Suitcase" event.

On Saturday and Sunday, November 5 and 6, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, the Manhattan Beach Police Department will be collecting new items and notes of support for children up to age 12 who are transitioning into Los Angeles foster care. (For those who cannot make the event, a drop off box will also be located in the Manhattan Beach Police Department lobby from now through November 4.)

Hope in a Suitcase, a nonprofit organization, packs items for each child into a suitcase or duffel bag with a note of support. Many of these children do not have the most basic items, so all donations are greatly appreciated.

“The Manhattan Beach Police Department is proud to be a partner in this worthwhile cause in support of children whose lives are in transition," said Manhattan Beach Police Chief Eve Irvine. "By providing these much needed items, it is our hope they may find comfort during this difficult time in their lives.”

Items on the group's wish list include (all new) pajamas; T-shirts and sweatshirts; athletic pants such as sweatpants, shorts, or leggings; undergarments such as underwear, socks, and bras; infant items such as pacifiers, clothing, baby blankets, and rattles; journals (no wire); comfort items, such as small stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons, art pads and colored pencils, and picture books; toiletries including hair brushes and accessories, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, lotion, lip balm, and deodorant; and gift cards.

There are approximately 35,000 youths in foster care in Los Angeles County alone. Many children do not have a suitcase or a duffel bag when they enter foster care, especially in emergency situations. They often have to bring whatever belongings they can fit into a plastic trash bag. And, in many cases, the foster families welcoming the children have had very little time to prepare for their arrival. 

According to Hope in a Suitcase, "The intent of our gesture is to not only reassure children that we value them as individuals, but also that their personal belongings deserve the same respect and care as they do, no matter where they go."

The group has a goal to collect or create 4,000 filled suitcases and duffel bags by the end of the 2016.

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