Its offices in various counties throughout Georgia, including the location at 1045 Southcrest Drive, Suite 200 in Stockbridge, will have boxes in place to collect new or gently used backpacks, suitcases, duffel bags, satchels and totes Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The drive, which was originally on Martin Luther King Day, is a way to honor the civil rights leader’s vision and give back to the community and is now on the preceding Friday to kick off a weekend of community service.
After the collection, the health care provider will work with the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services to distribute the bags in the counties in which the bags are collected.
“About 7,500 children, from infants to teenagers, are currently in the foster care system in Georgia. Since Totes 2 Tots was first launched in 2003, the event has collected and distributed more than 33,000 bags,” said Katherine Watson, a spokeswoman for co-sponsor Northside Hospital.
She said the need for suitcases and other bags for foster children was first brought to light by foster parents in Georgia.
“We learned about the plight of Georgia’s foster children from the story of a foster child who arrived with all of his personal possessions stuffed in a garbage bag. His clothes, several broken toys, toothbrush and other possessions were just thrown in together. The foster parent who told us about this boy wondered what kind of message this sent to the child about his importance,” Watson said.
Yolanda Lee, also of Northside, said even though Atlanta communities have donated a large number of bags in the past, the need this year is greater than ever.
“In 2013 we collected about 3,100 bags, which means about half the foster children received a bag, but obviously, we’d love to do even more this year,” she said.
Financial donations can also be made at https://give.northside.com/totes2tots.
Information: (678) 289-0549.