Lower Delaware Duffle Bag Project
Founder, Hilda Chaski Adams explains, "We started the project in June in terms of planning and soliciting volunteers to sew, but we actually started sewing in September. We've had 68 individuals come to help make the bags."
5 months after starting the project, volunteers meet at the Georgetown Public Library to deliver the first bags. Lynn Barberi has made 15 so far. "The first bag I made took about 3 hours to make, but then I was able to sew a complete bag in about an hour and 15 minutes. We sew on the side seams. We sew on the strap. We put on these D-rings. We sew the sides together, then the bottom, and put in a drawstring," says Barberi.
The Delaware Division of Family Services will take these bags from the library to deliver to children in foster care throughout Kent and Sussex Counties so they can use them to carry their belongings to camps, sports practices, or wherever they may travel. Rhonda Cipolla is the President of the Sussex County Foster Care Association and she's also a foster parent herself. "If they go back home, into another foster family, or if they get moved, they'll always have something to store their stuff in. It's their own piece of luggage," she says.
Many local businesses and individuals donate materials to the duffle bag project. The Perdue foundation is also joining the cause with a grant to ensure that the project has enough supplies to continue. Executive Director Kim Nechay explains, "The stigma with foster children is that they often just carry their lives around in black trash bags. So these beautiful fabric bags that they can have to call their own is just really special and we were so honored to be able to invest in that and make that happen."
The goal is to make 20 duffle bags each month to have enough by the end of the year for all 240 children that enter foster care each year in Kent and Sussex Counties.