Suitcases, duffel bags and backpacks are piling up at a Westborough real estate office this holiday season.
Foster children ultimately will carry their belongings in this luggage, rather than plastic trash bags, says Jennifer Juliano, an agent with the Westborough office of Keller Williams Realty.
Keller Williams Realty’s 2nd Annual "Bag of Hope Suitcase Drive for Foster Children" has collected more than 50 new, used and gently used bags, as well as travel-size supplies, since just before Thanksgiving, Juliano says.
Organizers hope to collect 125 bags, which will be donated to the Wentzell Center of Worcester, she says. There were 90 donations collected during last year’s drive, which also involved Keller Williams Realty’s Worcester office.
“It seemed to have struck a lot of attention, because it’s something nobody really thinks about,” Juliano says.
“I know people who worked in the foster service or have had foster kids, and they’ve said the same thing: that when their mother had foster children, they’d come with trash bags.”
The donations may be brought to the Keller Williams Realty Westborough office at 276 Turnpike Road, Suite 221 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Local pickups also can be arranged by request by calling 508-871-7141, or contacting Juliano at 508-294-0778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Sometimes, we’ve had them dropped off right outside the door, too,” Juliano says.
Juliano says she presented the idea to her Westborough office last year after “I got a Friend request from somebody I didn’t know on Facebook” but who had “one mutual friend.”
“I happened to notice probably about a month later that she had had a link to a blog talking about something like this that had happened,” Juliano says, adding that her office does two community activities each year.
Donations of other items that children can use are accepted as well, she says.
The list includes travel-size toiletries; hair accessories; nail polish and accessories; hats, mittens and scarves; pajamas; board games, puzzles and books; and crafts and small toys.
“Last year, one of the dentists in town donated a bunch of toothbrushes and toothpaste,” Juliano says.