In The News
Luggage will restore dignity to foster children
Almost everyone has unused or forgotten luggage sitting around – suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks. Now they can put them to better use. A staff member at the labor council heard of the needs of foster children and is urging union members to join an unusual campaign to gather such luggage for the hundreds and hundreds of youngsters who could be helped.
Jay Reinke, a field mobilizer attached to the Milwaukee Area Labor Council through the AFL-CIO Community Services program, was touched by a story about the Legal Aid Society (LAS) and its encounters with children caught in our foster care system.
These children are constantly moved from place to place, with representatives from the LAS providing legal guardianship. But they have no way to carry their goods from place to place – only a few items they can call their own and nothing they can call their own as luggage. Usually they dump the belongings into garbage bags and travel that way.
Reinke was moved by the comments of one girl who said she felt like garbage having to carry belongings this way.
Workers at LAS have begun collecting luggage for those kids, soon joined by Potawatomi and the United Way. Now the MALC is stepping in to add to the 400 pieces of luggage already gathered.
Reinke has called on the labor community to rifle their closets and attics and donate working luggage of all sizes – even the bags they are sometimes given attending conferences. He will ship them to the Legal Aid Society to be given to the children. It is bad enough that these kids have to be shuffled from home to home but it will help establish some dignity and sense of property if they own their own luggage.
Call Reinke at (414) 771-9828 to arrange a pick-up or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. He will also keep a running count of the number of luggage items collected and report back to the labor council on the success.
The community needs to show these foster children some dignity and respect.