My Stuff Bags Foundation
The My Stuff Bags Foundation is a national non-profit organization providing "My Stuff Bags" of new belongings to abused, neglected, abandoned and displaced children entering crisis shelters and foster homes with no personal belongings.
Each year nearly 300,000 children in the United States, from newborn infants to teenagers, must be rescued from dangerous, abusive home environments and cared for in crisis centers. Thousands more are displaced from their homes, losing everything to natural disasters such as hurricanes and fires. The necessary process of rescuing abused children is unfortunately often as traumatic for them, initially, as their situation at home. They are in the care of people whom they don't know and of whom they can, at first, be terribly afraid. Abused children must often be rescued so suddenly, at any time of day including the middle of the night, that they do not have time to prepare. Children forced to abandon their homes in the faces of natural disasters also have little, if any, time to prepare. As a result, most of these unfortunate children arrive at crisis centers and rescue shelters with few, if any, personal belongings; whatever they do have, they often lug around in trash bags.
The Foundation's sole program is the "My Stuff Bags" program. The My Stuff Bags program was established by the Foundation to address some of the immediate physical and emotional needs of rescued abused and neglected children, providing each with a clean, new duffel bag containing a variety of items they can call their own. These include clothing, toys, books, games, school supplies, stuffed animals, personal care items and most importantly, a soft, cuddly "security" blanket.
The Foundation ships the My Stuff Bags to various nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations which apply to the Foundation and which distribute the bags to the children being processed through their agency.
Since the program's inception in 1998, the Foundation has shipped over 350,000 My Stuff Bags to over 1,200 organizations in 49 states. These include various youth & family services groups, child advocacy centers, Christian, Jewish and Latino children's agencies, domestic violence centers, Bair Foundation centers, The Children's Home Society of Florida (statewide), and nearly 100 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) groups, among many others.
The My Stuff Bags program is funded almost exclusively through donations - donations of new items to fill the bags; donations of money to purchase and ship the bags; and gracious donations of volunteers' time to stuff the bags.