PHOENIX – Few events can traumatize a child more than being taken from their parents and placed in state care.
But a group of benevolent Arizona women have volunteered their time and talents to make this difficult transition easier for Arizona’s kids in foster care, one child at a time.
“We wanted to find a way to do what we could to help these children and serve the Lord,” said Betty Baerg, who co-founded a Bags of Love group in Maricopa County.
So Betty and the women’s ministry at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Apache Junction decided they would begin quilting and packing Bags of Love. Children receive these bags when they could use some love the most — after they are first removed from their parents and enter the care of the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS).
Each handcrafted bag contains a stuffed animal, personal care items, toys, a gift card, a hand-sewn quilt and a personalized note to let the child know, even though times may seem tough now, there are people who care about them and their future.
“This Bag of Love has been furnished to you by a community of people who truly care about you, and who pray that your circumstances will only improve as time passes by,” the letter reads.
Baerg said the group has handed out about 2,200 bags since they started.
“All of us at DCS are grateful to these talented women for their wonderful work in creating these Bags of Love,” said DCS Director Greg McKay.
And even though the ladies who stitch the quilts will never personally witness the joy on a child’s face when they receive a bag, they are content, knowing that they played a part in creating something special for a child in foster care to cherish forever.
Partner agencies connect kids to services
The Bags of Love are distributed through DCS offices and partner agencies that are eligible for the Arizona Foster Care tax credit.If you would like to see your tax dollars go towards charitable organizations that provide services to Arizona’s most vulnerable children, it’s not too late to take advantage of the Arizona Foster Care Tax Credit. Individual filers can qualify for up to a $500 tax credit while married couples qualify for up to a $1,000 tax credit.