'Carry on' campaign works to give kids luggage - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

'Carry on' campaign works to give kids luggage

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Booth Goodwin, left, and Carrie Dawson talk about the Give Thanks and Carry On program, which gives foster kids luggage. Booth Goodwin, left, and Carrie Dawson talk about the Give Thanks and Carry On program, which gives foster kids luggage.
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Imagine leaving home with nothing but a garbage bag full of your possessions. That's a predicament many West Virginia foster children face all the time, according to Carrie Dawson, public relations director at Mission West Virginia.

But the Give Thanks and Carry on campaign hope to change that reality for foster kids. The two-year-old program replaces garbage bags with new or gently-used luggage and duffel bags that are packed with essential items, such as toothbrushes, non-perishable snacks, stuffed animals, hair brushes, coloring books and toiletries.

"Those are their toys, their items and their possessions. So throwing them into a garbage bag, I mean, it would make me feel like garbage," Dawson said Nov. 20 at a press conference at the Children's Home Society. "So hopefully, if they have a nice duffel bag or a suitcase and some of their own personal items, it just gives them better feelings about themselves and it lets them know that there are people in the community that do care about them."

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, who is partnering with Mission West Virginia in the campaign, said the project is a small gesture to make a big impact.

"This is a good way to show them that people do care and want them to have more," Goodwin said. "Here during Thanksgiving times, I want to remind folks that they have an opportunity to make a big difference by participating in this great program."

Goodwin and Dawson said the campaign also serves as a way to raise awareness about the need for foster parents.

"There are thousands of foster kids here in West Virginia needing loving, caring families," Goodwin said.

People may drop off items at regional West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services offices and select member programs of the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network.

To see a complete list, visit www.missionwv.org

"It's a great way to let children in your community know you love them," Dawson said. "It's a great way to give thanks."