FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 24, 2007

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia
Communications Director
Union County Office of Public Information
Office: 908-527-4419
Cell: 908-770-3662

 

Union County Freeholders Announce “Suitcases for Kids” Program
to Help Children in Protective Care

Elizabeth - Those suitcases and duffel bags taking up space in your attic or basement can be put to good use. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has joined with an international effort to collect and distribute free luggage for children in protective care.

“Every year, hundreds of children in Union County are moved from their homes, for their own safety and well-being,” said Union County Freeholder Alexander Mirabella.  “A nice piece of luggage is a small gesture but it can mean a lot to a child during this traumatic experience.”

The Union County collection will take place in Summit on Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4, between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., at The UPS Store of Summit. The store is located at 55 Union Place, across the street from the Summit train station.

Suggested items include sturdy, lightweight duffel bags or suitcases. Items designed for either children or adults are welcome. The luggage should be clean and in good condition.

“Children in protective care often have to move frequently, sometimes with little notice,” said Freeholder Deborah Scanlon. “Many have to use garbage bags and cardboard boxes to carry their things. As a practical matter, decent luggage is urgently needed.”

For more information on making a donation, call The UPS Store of Summit at
908-273-7000.

Refreshments will be served during collection hours. The event is coordinated by the UPS Store of Summit in cooperation with the Union County Department of Human Services and the state Department of Children and Families (DCF), Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), Union County District Office.

“This is just one example of the ways that businesses can pitch in for the community,” said Antonietta Mills, manager of The UPS Store of Summit. “We can all do our part to help a child in need.”

All donations will be distributed at Union County’s three DYFS offices in Elizabeth, Plainfield and Cranford, to Union County children in out-of-home care.

In Union County alone there are over 900 children in out-of-home placements this year. Statewide, there are approximately 10,000.

The collection event is part of the international Suitcases for Kids organization, which has chapters in all 50 states. More information about the organization is available at www.suitcasesforkids.org.