Families, organizations give back to support foster kids

Isaiah 1:17 Project to pack 3,000 ‘Bags of Hope’ for children in foster care

Families, organizations give back to support foster kids

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Sunday marks as a day of hope for the Isaiah 1:17 Project.

Community organizations and families came together to help those in need.

Beginning on Sunday, families, church groups, office teams and more are volunteering to help pack 3,000 “Bags of Hope” for foster children.

Each participating group can choose to sponsor bags by picking up supplies from a list provided by the Isaiah 1:17 Project, or they can participate by picking up the items to pack.

Groups packing the bags may offer a personal blessing or prayer over each one.

The teams who pack at least 100 bags or more will receive five complimentary “1/17 Day of Hope” t-shirts and are encouraged to share the fun through social media using #DayOfHope.

The Isaiah 1:17 Project provides these Bags of Hope so they can be given directly to children as they enter foster care. By working directly with the Department of Child Services, local schools, hospitals and emergency personnel, the bags help caseworkers during the transition by putting something in their hands to help connect with each child, while giving children ownership of their own Bag of Hope.

“You know, a lot of times you get a kid that’s like ‘Wow, this is mine?’” Executive Director Marcia Lambert said. “They really never had the opportunity to have a brand new toothbrush, or have a brand new stuffed animal or brand new pajamas. Again, those are things we take for granted, and when kids are going through this transition and most likely one of the scariest days of their life, this is a way we can wrap around them with tangible items, and for those older kids especially to wrap around them and say, ‘Hey, you are loved, heard, seen and valued.’ And as a community, we’re able to share that message with them, so it’s taking that tangible item and turning it into something much more.”

A Bag of Hope contains age appropriate items such as pajamas, socks, underwear/diapers, toiletries, snacks, water or baby formula for babies, as well as comfort items to aid both the foster parent and child during the initial transition.

For the Wenzel family, this wasn’t any ordinary Sunday.

“We put bags, bags for the Isaiah 1:17 Project,” nine-year-old Alex Wenzel said.

As countless other churches, businesses and organizations took on the task, the Wenzel family had some little helping hands packing hope.

“To let them know that it’s important to be helping each other out because we are all impacted,” Shannon Wenzel said. “Anything that’s happening, especially to our children, impacts our complete society. So it’s important that our children know that there are other children in need and that there are things they can do.”

So for the Wenzel family and others packing Bags of Hope throughout the month, it’s the little things that add up and mean the most.

“There’s so much to do out in front, and there’s so much more to do behind the scenes,” Shannon said. “So going onto their website or onto their Facebook, and looking for those volunteer opportunities - there’s so many things that you may think are little, but they mean a lot when they add up.”

Other organizations involved in the project include the Princeton Fire Department, Mt. Zion General Baptist Church, Donna Groves Consulting Group and so many more.

The executive director tells 14 News that people can still get involved. Those interested can contact the organization directly through the Isaiah 1:17 Project’s official Facebook page or their main office in Princeton.

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