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Jan. 1, 1970

Volunteers participate in ‘packing party’ to support N.J. children entering foster care

Creating Backpacks for Children in Foster Care

Amerigroup New Jersey and the New Jersey Devils organization joined Comfort Cases for a “Packing Party” last week to support New Jersey children entering foster care. Representatives from United Community Corp. also took part in the event, which was held at Westside Park Community Center in Newark on Thursday.

About 60 volunteers filled 300 backpacks with new pajamas, socks, blankets, books, activity materials, stuffed animals, dental and hygiene kits, and other age-appropriate supplies.

According to Amerigroup, approximately 700 children enter foster care every day across the country. Many children enter the foster care system with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“When I was 18, my foster parents packed all of my belongings in a trash bag and told me I had to leave because they were no longer receiving a check from the government,” Rob Scheer, founder of Comfort Cases said. “I was 18, a senior in high school, and homeless. Flash forward to when I opened my front door to meet my children, who came from the foster care system, and to my surprise and disgust, they were carrying those same black trash bags. Where is the dignity in a child being told that their life is only worth what can be carried in a trash bag? There is none. Would you allow YOUR child to carry their belongings in a trash bag? Of course not. Children are in foster care not because of something they did, but because of a decision an adult (family member or caregiver) made.”

Since 2013, the nonprofit Comfort Cases has distributed more than 200,000 Comfort Cases® and Comfort XL duffel bags to children in the foster care system in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.

“Comfort Cases let these children know that someone loves them,” Scheer said. “It allows them to have dignity and have something of their own.”

For last week’s event, Amerigroup made a donation to Comfort Cases to cover the cost of supplies to pack 250 bags. The bags were donated to the East Orange Family Success Center.

Amerigroup New Jersey works to “help improve health care access and quality for more than 250,000 low-income residents throughout the state by developing innovative care management programs and services. Members are assured care that is not only accessible but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated, and patient-centered.

“We are focused on providing youth in foster care not only the physical support they need, but also the emotional support, dignity, and happiness that will improve their quality of life and well-being, and these cases are an example of that support,” Patrick Fox, president of Amerigroup New Jersey said.

Learn more here.

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