Georgia Cancer Specialists, Northside Hospital Collect Suitcases for Foster Children

ATLANTA – Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) and Northside Hospital are hosting the 17th annual totes 2 tots drive to collect backpacks and suitcases for foster children in Georgia. Donations of new or nearly new backpacks, duffel bags and suitcases will be accepted at locations across the state:

– Thursday, Jan. 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., GCS Camp Creek and Hawkinsville, Ga. locations
– Friday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., all other GCS locations in Georgia
– Saturday, Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., New Apostolic Church, Columbus, Ga.

More than 14,000 children, from infants to teenagers, are currently in the foster care system in Georgia. Many of these children shuffle their belongings in garbage bags when they are removed from their homes. totes 2 tots aims to change that by giving every foster child in Georgia a new or nearly new backpack, duffel bag or suitcase. Since totes 2 tots launched in 2003, the annual volunteer event has collected and distributed more than 55,000 bags.

GCS and Northside Hospital partner with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to distribute the bags in the counties in which they’re collected. Tom C. Rawlings, interim director of DFCS, praised those who support the program, which helps to bring a measure of comfort and respect to Georgia’s foster children.

“The totes 2 tots program allows children in foster care the ability to transport their belongings with a sense of dignity,” said Rawlings. “By providing backpacks and luggage, totes 2 tots offers our children a sense of stability during an uncertain time.”

totes 2 tots was originally held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a way to honor Dr. King’s vision of philanthropy and give back to the community. The event is now held the preceding Thursday-Saturday to kick-off a weekend of service in his honor.

“Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly;’ that is why the [GCS] physicians and staff take pride in celebrating his memory by participating in totes 2 tots for the 17th consecutive year,” said Dr. Cheryl Jones, vice president and chief medical officer at GCS.

WSB-TV Family 2 Family has signed on as the media partner for totes 2 tots for a 17th year. Additional support is being provided by Courier Express.

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