Foster Fridays: Journey Bags
Recently, a local foster mom reached out to us. She and her husband had 3 biological boys under the age of 5, and one on the way. They opened their home to two sisters.
The email read: "Two girls, ages 4 and 1. They came with three diapers and a cat toy in a grocery bag."
This is often the case for kids in this area who enter care. They come in with the clothes on their backs.
If you've seen our video about Journey Bags, you know about another common scenario, the trash bag. Whether it's just the dirty diaper they were removed in, or a bag intended for garbage, we at FLM believe either is unacceptable. This child is about to undergo one of the most frightening transitions imaginable: moving in with strangers.
FLM wanted to provide something during this traumatic time that could offer some type of comfort and dignity. We do this by making, collecting, and distributing Journey Bags.
What's in a Journey Bag?
Journey Bags provide "first night" supplies such as pajamas, hygiene products, diapers, etc. to help foster parents avoid an immediate shopping during the chaos of accepting a new placement. The bags also contain items intended to make the child more comfortable (like their own blanket, pillowcase, journal) and things for the child to enjoy (toys, card games, coloring books.) We try to have bags on hand for all age groups.
Don't foster parents receive stipends to provide for the child's physical needs?
Of course. But we want to offer support, comfort, and provide for physical needs within the first 24-48 hours, when possible (see above, helping parents avoid immediate shopping!) Things come up too. In the case of the family above, their three biological kids got sick right after the girls arrived. The parents weren't able to get to the store for a few days, so the Journey Bags were a huge help! There was also a First Responder group that took action right away and got them additional clothes, coats, and a crib (see our blog post on First Responders!)
How can I help?
If you go over to the "Journey Bag" section of this website, you'll find packing lists for each age group. Contact us on Facebook if you'd like to drop one off!