Buddy Bag program donation drive

There are thousands of foster children in Mississippi and the transition from one home to the next is different for each individual. News 25’s Kendra Turley shines a light on a program that aims to make the move easier for both the parent and the child.
Moving from one location to another can be challenging, especially when it’s out of your control. As a foster parent, Brandy Hamilton witnesses youth of all ages arrive to a new home with nothing to call their own. “They would have barely anything, a little grocery bag, maybe a trash bag, full of very little items, usually clothes that didn’t fit. It tore at us and we knew we had to do something.”
That’s when she created the Buddy Bag program. The goal is to provide as many foster children as possible with a duffle-bag full of entertainment and basic necessities. “It has a stuffed animal, a fleece blanket, a hygiene kit and like an activity book so if they have to sit at the shelter for a while, or the office, they have something. It’s their own,” said Hamilton.
The Buddy Bag program teamed up with One80 Fitness in D’Iberville for a week long donation drive. Anyone who donated an item or money had the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a variety of prizes. One80 Fitness General Manager Michael Goodsell said, “We’ve got Be Fit Bootcamp that was donated, two tickets to Gulfport Music Festival from 107.1 The Monkey, a free night hotel room at the Scarlet Pearl and dinner for two. We also got a $50 gift certificate to Pop’s Pizzeria right down the corner.”
The goal was to generate enough support to fill 100 Buddy Bags. An overflow of donations in just seven days helped surpass that goal with ease. Donor Joyce Shaw said, “Anything that can help them with that transition and bring them something that’s a little better than a trash bag sounds like a real good idea to me.”

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