BUCKHANNON - To benefit foster children, the Buckhannon Rotary Club launched a project to fill backpacks full of necessities and personal items to give to those children.
The finished backpacks were taken to the Upshur County Department of Health and Human Resources and labeled by age group and gender so they are ready when they are needed. Rotary members spent time at their meeting this week filling the bags for the Carry-on Campaign based on each age group and gender's needs.
"Very often, they don't have anything to take with them," Virginia Dixon said. "This provides a little buffer for them, something to start them out with some personal items. A stuffed toy, a book, a journal, pens, pencils, crayons, a little blanket, some non-perishable snacks, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, comb, those kinds of things."
Buckhannon Rotary President Julia Keehner, left, along with Kathy McMurray and other members, select items to put in backpacks for foster children.
Dixon led the project and has encouraged members to bring items during the past several meetings. Other Buckhannon Rotary Club members said they thought the project was important.
"It's happening to kids," Marty Kelley said. "I'm happy we're doing this."
Necessities included in the bags range from toothpaste to underwear, but they also include some personal items that often are left behind when a child is removed from a home by the state, such as journals and stuffed animals.
"I spent about half my career as a prosecutor," William Thurman said. "On an almost daily basis, I dealt with the removal of children for whatever circumstances... This really does make an impact. It does help the whole system, and certainly, it is a comfort to those children. I'm really proud that we're participating in that."
This is the second time Buckhannon Rotary Club has initiated and completed the project. In November, they donated 96 bags. On Tuesday, the club packed 72 bags.
"Thanks for everyone's generosity," President Julia Keehner said. "Almost all of the (previous) packs were given out in a short amount of time, and it's just really important to the children that we share those with."