By Joan Goodchild, Contributing Writer
The event will feature families from Shrewsbury and the surrounding communities who will have tables set up to sell toys and baby gear.
This year, SCDC will also be collecting suitcases for a nonprofit agency based in Worcester that serves children called “Children's Friend.” Children's Friend is a private, not-for-profit agency that has been serving children and families since 1849 and provides many services, including mental health services and adoption and foster care management. The staff is collecting gently used suitcases, which will be provided to children entering foster care.
Jennifer Luke, of SCDC, explained.
“The suitcases are being collected for the children who are removed from their homes and enter foster care,” Luke said. “As a former DCF [Department of Children and Families] worker, I know that when I had to remove children, they had to put all their belongings in a trash bag. Children's Friend is trying to collect suitcases so these children can have something to take with them, from home to home, and feel a little more normalized. Who wants to pack everything they own into a trash bag? So the goal is for a social worker to have the suitcase with them and bring it when removing a child.”
The suitcase collection is an ongoing effort and those interested in making a donation don's have to wait until the Toy and Baby Gear Sale to take one to the SCDC. However, Luke noted, the idea was born because the sale is the perfect venue for suitcase collection since people are trying to get rid of items in their homes.
“The more suitcases we can collect, the better,” she said.
Admission to the November event is free, and everyone is welcome, Luke said. Anyone interested in selling toys and gear can rent a table for $25. All proceeds will go toward SCDC programming and activities, including Sing and Swing, holiday parties, Neighborhood Tours, monthly craft class and cooking classes.
To donate a suitcase, register a table, or for more information, email [email protected].