Georgia Cancer Specialists Collects Nearly 4,500 Bags During Sixth Annual “Totes 2 Tots” Suitcase Drive for Foster Children

Friday, February 8th, 2008

25 Offices, From Fort Oglethorpe/Ringgold to Macon, Take Part

Almost 12,700 Bags Collected and Distributed Locally Over Six Years

Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS)—the largest private oncology/ hematology practice in the Southeast—and WSB-TV teamed up to collect nearly 4,500 new and nearly new suitcases during the sixth annual “Totes 2 Tots” suitcase drive for foster children. The event was held at 25 GCS offices across Georgia on Friday, January 18, 2008.

“We are proud that our employees have partnered with their communities at 25 locations to support Georgia’s foster community and honor Dr. King’s vision,” said Dr. Bruce Feinberg, President/CEO of GCS. “To collect one bag would be valuable, but 4,500 is overwhelming.”

The Totes program has also gained the avid support of Governor Sonny Perdue and First Lady Mary Perdue. They are very active in the foster community and have been foster parents themselves. Mrs. Perdue personally supported the program this year by appearing on Fox 5’s morning show, Good Day Atlanta, with GCS COO Dr. Wendy Lenz to promote Totes, and by helping to collect bags and giving a brief presentation at the GCS Stemmer building in Decatur.

“I’m pleased to join Totes 2 Tots and many other Georgians in finding ways to meet the needs of abused and neglected children in their own communities,” said First Lady Mary Perdue. “This endeavor encourages and enables us to truly make a difference in the life of a child.”

Communities and businesses across the state mobilized to help foster children: in Atlanta, Mayo Furniture donated 480 bags, Turner Broadcasting donated more than 200 bags, and Weight Watchers donated more than 300 bags. In Macon, St. Joseph’s School made Totes their school’s January mission project and donated 145 bags, while a group of elementary school teachers brought in 30 bags. Atlanta Oncology Associates (AOA), a radiation therapy group, helped out at the five Georgia Centers for Total Cancer Care, a collaborative effort between AOA and GCS, in Lawrenceville, Alpharetta, Macon, Lake Oconee, and Blairsville.

2008’s 25 locations—expanded from 13 in 2007—also included GCS offices in Athens, Atlanta, Austell, Blue Ridge, Canton, Conyers, Cumming, Decatur, Duluth, Douglasville, Fayetteville, Griffin, Lithonia, Marietta, Milledgeville, Ringgold, Snellville, and Stockbridge.

“Children who come into DFCS custody are often traumatized by the experience of being separated from family members, familiar surroundings, and personal items that make up their daily experience,” said Mary Dean Harvey, Director of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). “The luggage collected by the Totes 2 Tots program allows foster children the opportunity to carry some of their personal belongings with them into care. This wonderful initiative helps our foster children maintain both a sense of connection and a modicum of dignity during an intervention which can be difficult for them.”

“Totes 2 Tots” delivers new or nearly new suitcases to foster children in Georgia, many of whom must shuffle their belongings from home to home in garbage bags during frequent relocations. The annual volunteer event was first launched by GCS in 2003 and has collected and distributed almost 12,700 bags. The bags are distributed within the counties they’re collected.

In 2005, WSB-TV recognized the importance of the drive and agreed to support it as a part of its Family 2 Family Project. This is the fourth year that GCS and WSB-TV have partnered for “Totes 2 Tots.” Family 2 Family is the longest running locally produced, comprehensive, station-wide public service effort in Georgia. It includes shows such as People 2 People, a weekly half-hour public affairs program hosted by Jocelyn Dorsey that chronicles events and newsmakers in metro Atlanta.

Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) is the largest private oncology/hematology practice in the Southeast and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including nutritional counseling, pain management, wellness counseling, and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 31 offices, 41 doctors, and over 540 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta and North and Central Georgia, and provides care through approximately 160,000 annual patient visits. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at GCS is The Cancer Answer.

Statistics About Georgia’s Foster Children

  • 15,119 children were in foster care as of December 2005
  • 30% of those children have been in foster care more than 24 months
  • 50% were African-American
  • 41% were less than 6 years old
  • 67% were younger than 12
  • About 2,237 of those children were staying with relatives
  • About 8,386 were staying in foster homes
  • About 1,561 were in group homes
  • About 974 were housed in institutions
  • Approximately 8% of the children discharged will re-enter foster care within 1 year
  • Foster parents are reimbursed according to the age of the child: birth to 5, $13.75; 6-12, $15.50; 13 and above, $17.75. The rate is higher for children needing medical care or a higher level of supervision. Medical treatment and clothing costs are covered by the agency.
  • Georgia’s 200 group homes are reimbursed for about 68% of their costs
  • Georgia’s 4,174 foster parents are reimbursed for about 67% of their costs
  • Those 4,174 families save the state approximately $34 million per year
  • Georgia ranks 39 out of 50 states in overall child well being

**Statistics from Governor Sonny Perdue’s web site:,2094,78006749_79688181,00.html

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