IT’S MY VERY OWN; BAGS OF LOVE
The above title is the official name of this program. It was originally started in the United States and has spread to Canada as well. Many churches and other organizations have adopted this program.
The program in the Williams Lake SDA Church serves the Department of Family and Children Welfare. That department secured permission from their government offices in Victoria in order to make use of our program.
Bags of Love is age and gender appropriate. It covers 0-7 mo., 8-7 mo.,
18 mo.– 3 yrs, 4-7 yrs, 8-12 years, and 13 – 17 yrs. One set for boys, and one set for girls.
When a social worker removes a child from their home, the child is given one of our Bags of Love. The bag is usually made of twill in colours that are appropriate for age and gender and stands about 30” tall x 42” wide. There is a pocket on the front which holds the toiletries, and the top closes with a drawstring. Often, the child is not allowed to take anything with him/her when taken from the home, so the bag meets a number of needs..
First of all, it may calm down the child because they are usually given the bag as soon as they are taken to the social worker’s office. Generally, curiosity sets in immediately. There is a stuffed animal to hold and activities to keep the child busy while the office is determining where the child will be placed.
For the older children, they can feel they have something to bring to the home that is their own, that they are not completely dependent on a stranger.
All bags have a homemade quilt. Toiletries are also provided: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and/or hairbrush, shampoo, washcloth and soap. For school age children there are also school supplies: pencil case, pencils, pens, crayons or markers, spiral notebook, eraser, rulers, and glue stick. For older students we add: protractor, compass, calculator (and a scientific calculator for the teenagers). Toys, books, activities are added as we are able to find appropriate ones for the various ages..
For those from 0-3 years, we include baby shampoo, baby cups, plates, washcloths, and toys appropriate for their age (a thing that is often very hard to find!) as we find them available at reasonable cost.
Just recently, we have added pyjamas to the list! As we find appropriate items at reasonable cost we buy them; therefore, not every bag has identical contents.
We depend on donations to carry on this work. Until recently, it has been mostly supported by a private woodworking business, but that has now come to an end. We encourage all of you to help out with donations of items that are mentioned in this description or with cash donated through the church. The article that we find hardest to get at a reasonable price is stuffed animals that are big enough to be a comfort. (We get lots of little ones!) All items must be new or look brand new. We don’t want these children to feel they are getting hand-me-downs!
Thank you for your interest in this church activity; please make it your “very own”.