Sierra Grant: $5,000 in the 1st quarter of 2018
Mission: To assist and support Foster Care Agencies, Children’s Social Services, Schools, Resource Centers and Police Departments by supplying them with shoes, clothes, toys, bedding, hygiene kits, educational supplies & diapers for the children they serve during emergency situations.
Bank of the Sierra was honored to collaborate with Bags4Kids through its Sierra Grant. Bruce Hamlin, the Market President who endorsed the organization, had this to say:
“I whole-heartedly endorse this organization for one of our Sierra Grants. Relocation to and from foster homes is always going to be a difficult situation for a child. For years, this organization has strived to turn what could be a very traumatic experience for a young child into a positive outcome, given the circumstances that they find themselves. By providing bags containing personal hygiene items, books to read or color, stuffed animals, clothes, shoes and blankets, they provide comfort to a young child.”
We sat down with LaJuana Moser, Founder and Executive Director, to find out more about what she and Bags4Kids aims to accomplish:
All the non-profits we collaborate with have a vision for their community—what’s your vision?
Our vision is for the community to come together and support the low income families that are not able to buy clothes, shoes and food. Also to help children who are entering the foster care system by donating items they are in need of.
Describe your organization and/or the work you do in three words.
Bags4kids: Helping Foster Children
What specific work have you been using donations to accomplish recently?
We’ve been purchasing items in bulk that we put inside of our baby bags and duffle bags for children going into the foster care system. Buying them in bulk assures that we won’t be running out when we need them the most, such as in emergency situation.
Do you have an individual success story to share from your organization’s efforts?
An officer called us one day and shared this story: “We like giving your ‘comfort bags’ out. The kids like the toys, the stuffed animals and all there is to do to keep them busy. But everything we take for granted the most—the toothbrushes, the soap, the make-up—all those things the kids here liked the most. Last night a mother had to stay here all night at the station with her 5 kids, as her abusive/drunk husband wouldn’t leave their home. We overheard them in the bathroom washing their faces, brushing their teeth, laughing and having the best time. So thank you.”
Educating the public about causes is an important part of non-profit work. Is there something you’d like everyone to know about the people you help or the efforts of your team?
Many people don’t even know there are foster kids, much less how and why there are foster kids. Educating the public that children may be removed from their unsafe homes and put into foster care is how we help and what they need to know. Here is part of a letter we send out:
“For a moment, imagine stepping into the shoes of a foster child. You have just been taken from your home, your family, your friends, and everything you know. A stranger puts you in a car headed for an unknown place filled with unfamiliar people and things. Leaving everything behind, you are left with absolutely nothing. No warm hugs or teddy bears to take comfort in, no clean clothes to change into, and often times, not even a toothbrush – just the clothes on your back. Now, imagine experiencing such intense fear, solitude, distress, and sadness when you are ONLY 4 years old.
Experiences like these are the reasons that Bags4kids was founded – to provide some form of comfort to the scared and distressed children left with nothing after being removed from their homes and families.”
Bank of the Sierra is proud to sponsor Bags4Kids. Check them out on the web to see how you can get involved with this great organization.