A local cancer treatment office will be collecting bags for children in foster care from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday.
The 25 Georgia Cancer Specialists offices throughout the state will for the 10th year in a row hold its Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive.
Among them is the Cumming office, located in the 1505 Building of Northside Hospital-Forsyth.
Teresa Ringo, patient services representative at the local office, said staff members are looking for any sort of bag that can be used by children in foster care to carry their belongings.
"They can bring in anything from back packs to duffle bags to suitcases," Ringo said. "They can also bring diaper bags, because babies also have to be taken away from their homes at times and the state doesn’t have the resources to provide bags."
Ringo said new or "gently used" bags are welcome.
The drive started a decade ago when a Georgia Cancer Specialists staff member at another location 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 its beginning, the drive has collected and distributed more than 25,000 bags to foster children throughout the state.
Ringo said one of the best parts of the event is the fact that bags collected at each location are given to children in their respective communities.
"We love that all the bags collected here go to foster kids in Forsyth County," she said.
The Cumming office has taken part in the program for the past four years.
Ringo said participation has increased every time.
"Last year, we collected about 230 bags," she said. "The year before we collected 150, and in our first year we were so excited to collect 75 bags."
While the office doesn’t have a set goal, Ringo said staffers do hope to at least top last year’s collections.
"We’ve moved to a different location at the hospital since last, so we were a little worried that people wouldn’t be able to find us, so we didn’t want to set a specific goal," she said. "We want everyone to be aware that we’re now in the 1505 Building."
Ringo said the majority of the collected bags come from the public.
"I’d say about a quarter of them come from patients, but most come from the public," she said. "We want anyone who brings even one bag to know how appreciative we are."