LIHUE — It’s Foster Care Month, and Kauai Lions Club is asking family and friends to donate bags or backpacks for island foster children.
Kauai Lions Club’s Duffel Bag or Roller Backpack Challenge Drive encourages family and friends to give a bag stuffed with toothbrushes, toothpaste, small towel, hairbrush, socks, reading book, small toy or anything to give each keiki a smooth transition into foster care.
“Kids who have to leave their home all of the sudden typically don’t have bags that they can use to put their things in,” said Kauai Community Liaison Monica Ka‘auwai of the Partners in Development Foundation Hui Hoomalu Program. “We want to show them that we care and we can help bring them up as a community and that we’ll be there when times are rough.”
“Then as they become adults, they can learn how to give back to the community and be successful themselves,” she added.
There are about 100 children in foster care on Kauai with just 80 families acting as resource caregivers, according to Ka‘auwai. People can make a difference in these children’s lives by providing them with their own duffel bag or backpack, so they have something to cart their only belongings in from home to home.
“Most times they have to throw belongings into a trash bag when taken to a foster home or during transition,” said Lions Club President Muriah Moises.” Just simply giving a child their own bag, with some basic essentials, would help during such a stressful and difficult time.”
“Since May is Foster Care Month, we feel it’s the right time to bring awareness for the foster children on island and the basic needs they have, including the need for more foster families,” said Moises. “We started out by challenging our other Lions Clubs on island to donate at least one bag per member.”
Last year Kauai Lions Club did a slipper drive for children in foster care and shelters and collected more than 800 pairs.
“Part of this drive is to not only bring awareness to what the foster youth needs are, but also to know there’s always a need for more foster parents,” said Hale Opio Kauai Executive Director Vonn Ramos. “People can help out by either donating or becoming a foster parent or referring those that might be prospective foster parents.”
The Kauai Lions Club has set a goal of collecting 100 bags by June 9. Donations can be dropped off at Kuhio Medical Center or Kauai Independent Food Bank.