If you could package up love and hand it over it would probably look like this.
It’s colourful, hand-sewn, grab bag of every essential a young person could want—from toys to toiletries, a handmade comforter to stuffed animals—and it comes at a much needed time.
For the first time, Bags of Love are being lovingly assembled in Trail for children in transition who have had their lives uprooted by extenuating circumstances, and are in need of a little comfort.
Under the Bags of Love program run out of the Trail Seventh Day Adventist Church, the first 10 bags will be given out to foster children in the West Kootenay area next week.
“Children in transition are often not able to take personal belongings with them,” said Sharon Jackson, the coordinator for the Trail-based program. “But Bags of Love helps ease the transition by providing items of comfort that they can call their very own.”
Started in 2005 in Kentucky, It’s My Very Own/Bags of Love now has chapters all over the U.S., with Trail being one of three in Western Canada.
The Trail chapter is relatively new, said Jackson, and has only been in existence since June, 2012. Already, handmade bags have been created, sewn by two church members and one community member, and an assortment of items have filled their interiors.
As well, the group has received some love from the Trail Shoppers Drug Mart with donations of personal care items, and the Sugar Shack Quilting with donations of material and handles for bags.
The contents of the bags are very basic, but special, Jackson noted: a kid-sized handmade comforter, a soft cuddly toy, personal care items (comb, hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste), two toys for young children and age appropriate items for older children.
“It warms the heart to see a smile on a child’s face when they are given something they can call their very own,” Jackson explained.
Plus the bags that are collected in the area are distributed and stay in the West Kootenay, helping local children from newborn to age 18.
Although the project has some initial local support, they are looking further afield for donations (which are tax deductible) to help purchase the items for the bags.
The toys and the personal care items collected are for all age groups—the travel size is best.
As well, the program is looking for volunteers to help with fundraising and to sew bags and quilts.