Imagine this: You are a child in the foster care system. You have no expectation of consistency or home. You have been moved four times in five years; the reasons don’t matter, but they keep coming up. You’re too expensive, you’re not a good fit, a judge you met once has decided you’re in the wrong school district. You get five hours’ notice that a social worker is coming to escort you to a different foster home or a different relative or back to your biological parents, but you know in a week or a month you’ll be moving again.
You stuff the things you own into a black plastic garbage bag because it’s what you have, and you lug it to the car, hoping it doesn’t split and drop everything you own in the mud. It looks like garbage, and it’s hard not to feel as though you do too.
It sounds like a scene from a Lifetime special, but it’s reality for many kids in the system. In a discussion board thread asking what small things could make life better for foster kids, several cited luggage as an important want; a way to feel more human and valued.
Montgomery Lanier, an 11-year-old girl in Wilmington, North Carolina, witnessed a friend who “had to leave her house with all her stuff in trash bags.” Despite her young age, Lanier couldn’t see that and do nothing.
She founded Carry with Confidence in response, a local charity to gather donated luggage and get it to kids in the foster care system who need it. Her stated goal is to collect 100 pieces of new or like-new luggage by Christmas.
If you would like to donate, please consider washability. Donations of luggage, travel bags, or cash can be sent to Atlantic Janitorial Supply, 1519 N. 23rd St., Wilmington, NC 28405.