The idea of ‘Bedtime Bags’ and ‘Kits for Kids’ came about through a conversation with a concerned gentleman who worked with foster children placements. He expressed his concern for these kids, who many times were placed in a foster home with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing, or the few possessions they did have were packed in a trash bag. He didn’t want these kids to think they were nothing more than ‘trash’. So I told him I would see what I could do to help.
With word-of-mouth and the help of social media, the information was put out to anyone who had extra backpacks, suitcases and duffel bags. Our pleas for help were well-answered! The backpacks, suitcases and duffel bags came pouring into our office. Hughes commented, “It’s wonderful how generous the public was to our cause. Their donations exceeded my expectations many times over!” We also asked for donations of personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash and body lotion to add to our bags. “That request was met with the same great generosity as our first request for help” stated Hughes. “We also had donations of puzzles, books, gently used personal throws, blankets, quilts, small stuffed animals and small toys. We can add these age appropriate items to the bags or kits.”Hughes contacted Sara Gideon, Dental Hygienist, and Dr. Tim Garner of Burwell Dental Clinic in Burwell, NE, and they graciously came onboard to assist us with the programs. Many dental kits containing toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, dental picks and other dental items were neatly bagged and ready to add to our ‘Bedtime Bags’ and ‘Kits for Kids’.
My final connection to make these bags and kits a reality was the use of ‘The Clothing Closet’ located at the First Christian Church in Burwell, NE. The Clothing Closet is a project of Keep Loup Basin Beautiful. Kathy Mann and Amy Hughes, KLBB Project Coordinators for the Clothing Closet, helped each time we had a need to assist an individual or a whole family. We were given sizes and needs for each individual person (or persons) and we went to work filling the suitcases or duffel bags with needed items to assist them. We also added a backpack for school age students, if they were in need of one.
In the month of December, we have assisted on several occasions when our ‘kits’ and ‘bags’ were needed. We again were given the sizes and needs of these individuals and set to work sorting through our vast selection of clothing of all sizes to help fill an urgent need. Back packs were also included for the school age students. “The total clothing weight for these two assistance requests totaled more than 75 pounds of clothing and bags. I am excited about the success and need for this project. It has by far surpassed the success I thought this project could possibly have!” claimed Hughes.
“All of the Project Coordinators at Keep Loup Basin Beautiful are gratified to assist anyone in need of help with the ‘Bedtime Bags’ and ‘Kits for Kids’ project. We are ‘recycling and reusing’ the backpacks, suitcases, duffel bags, blankets, quilts and clothing,” stated Hughes. Please contact any of our KLBB Project Coordinators: Kathy Mann, Mary Hughes or Amy Hughes if you or someone you know could benefit from this project or any of our other projects and programs. We are happy to help everyone!
Keep Loup Basin Beautiful (KLBB) is grant-funded through the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and Keep America Beautiful; and is a project of the Loup Basin RC&D Council that promotes litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, and beautification. KLBB serves thirteen counties in central and north-central Nebraska. For more information about KLBB’s education programs, email KLBB at [email protected], visit www.keeploupbasinbeautiful.org or like them on Facebook. Contact the Loup Basin RC&D office (308)-346-3393 or stop by the office at the Loup Rivers Scenic Byway Interpretive Center, 330 South Highway 11, Burwell, Nebraska.