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Totes 2 Tots drive Friday

Effort aids kids in foster care

POSTED: January 17, 2013 12:28 a.m.
 

Backpacks, suitcases and other bags will be collected Friday by a local cancer treatment office for use by children in foster care.

Georgia Cancer Specialists will hold its 11th annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at its 25 locations throughout the state.

Those sites include the one in the 1505 Building of Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

Teresa Ringo, a patient services representative at the site, said she and her co-workers are always happy to take part in the event.

“It’s just really nice that people are thinking about [the drive] and keeping foster kids in the forefront of their minds,” she said.

The drive seeks any sort of permanent bag that can be used to carry children’s items from home to home, such as duffel bags, diaper bags or child-sized suitcases.

The preference is new bags, but Ringo said those that are just “gently used” are fine too.

“We’ve had people who have brought in bags that are definitely not new, but they’re in great shape and like next to new,” she said.

The event was started after a Georgia Cancer Specialists employee at another site served as a foster mother.

“She said one of her foster kids came to her home with all of his belongings in a garbage bag and it broke her heart,” Ringo said.

Since the drive began a decade ago, more than 30,000 new or “gently used” bags have been collected throughout the state and distributed to children and teens in care of the Department of Family and Children Services.

The Cumming office, which has been participating in the drive since 2009, collected 75 bags its first year, 150 in 2010 and 230 in 2011. Ringo said about 275 bags were gathered last year and she’s hoping for more this week.

“Basically, our goal is every year we just want to increase and increase a little bit … obviously, we’re not going to have 3,000 bags dropped off at the Cumming location, but we just want to do our part and support the community and give a little back,” she said.

This year, she hopes dropping off the bags will be a little easier for people.

“We’re going to actually have out signs this year around the [Northside] campus, pointing the way,” she said. “And if at all possible, we’re going to try to have volunteers downstairs assisting people if they want to drop [bags] off right there at the curb … and then zoom off so they don’t have to come all the way up the stairs.

“We don’t want anybody getting lost, so we’re going to have everything right out in front for them.”

 

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