Fostering Hope for Kids

These easily constructed bags help foster children more easily transport their belongings.

By Mary Simonette, Charlottesville, Virginia

As appeared in

A representative from the foster-care system stopped by the senior center where I volunteer. He was looking for folks to make durable cloth bags for foster children. He said the kids often had to carry their belongings in trash bags.

I could imagine how important it was for kids whose lives were in upheaval to have something of their own to hold on to. I said I’d be happy to help. He gave me a pattern and some fabric to get me started. It took less than 15 minutes to finish the first bag, from cutting the fabric to sewing to creating a drawstring handle out of cord.

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With donated materials and help from friends, I’ve made more than 4,000 bags. Most of them go to foster children here in Virginia. But we’ve also sent some, filled with toys, first-aid kits and other supplies, to tornado victims in Oklahoma. And this fall a church in our area will be giving bags filled with health and beauty aids to people staying at its new shelter.

These bags are easy to make, yet they give a sense of security to those who need it most. Why not share them in your community?

  • To download the pattern, right-click (control-click on a Mac) on this link.

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Your Comments (4)

Where can I get a suggestion list of items to include in the bags?

Hi Joann. We don't have a list for you, but it probably depends on the young person's circumstances and what difficulties they've been faced with.

The story mentions including "toys, first-aid kits and other supplies" in the bags, so that's probably a good place to start. A toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste might come in handy, too, if the child is without one.

Our great niece, 19 years old, is having extreme emotional problems, she lives with her mother and grandmother. The whole household in extreme turmoil and in need of the presence God's holy spirit.

We would encourage you to post a request on our sister site,, or their Facebook page, A trained volunteer will then raise your concerns up in prayer.