bag up the love

Children and teens in Sarasota County, Florida who enter the foster care system are given a black plastic trash bag in which they pack up their worldly possessions. This doesn’t feel right to us, and after a little research we found that other groups across the nation have successfully started programs to change this.


Bag Up The Love!, working independently from but in conjunction with Safe Children Coalition and the Sarasota YMCA, will replace the trash bags with brand new duffel bags stuffed with supplies that we feel say “home.”


Safe Children Coalition does such an amazing job collecting the necessities – clothes, school supplies and even toilet paper – that we wanted to provide something they couldn’t ask for, something perhaps considered a luxury. Does a trash bag work? Sure. But does it have to be that way? We don’t think so.

We aim to supply 250 duffel bag sets to children entering the foster care system annually in Sarasota County, to be increased as needed. 


Each bag contains a coloring book/crayon set (under age 10) or a journal/colored pen set (10 and older), along with a bag of toiletries and a small stuffed dog, because in our family, a dog means home.

“As someone who worked for several years with youth experiencing homelessness and children in the foster care system, I am very familiar with trash bags. Children are removed from their homes and families for various reasons, sometimes in the middle of the night, and their few belongings arrive in a trash bag (or nothing at all). Suitcases and duffel bags were a very rare donation at the facilities where I worked. Some kids were in the shelter temporarily, some were stuck in a revolving door, but no matter the situation, these young people deserved dignity and compassion in stressful times. I am grateful for organizations like Bag Up the Love who are making it easier and more encouraging for these young people to move forward into the next chapter of their lives, without a garbage bag.”