Thanks to a strong outpouring of support from the community, the 12th annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive, sponsored by Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) and Northside Hospital, was a huge success. More than 3,600 backpacks, suitcases and other bags were donated at GCS offices across Georgia during the Jan. 17 event. GCS partners with Georgia’s Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Family and Children’s Services, which will distribute the bags to foster children who need them.
“This was our biggest, most successful Totes 2 Tots drive, ever,” said Dr. Cheryl Jones, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer, GCS. “Year after year, Totes 2 Tots allows us to demonstrate our commitment to the foster children in our state and invest in their futures. I am grateful to the community, our volunteers and everyone who contributed to the success of this event.”
Approximately 7,500 children, from infants to teenagers, are currently in the foster care system in Georgia. Many of these children shuffle their belongings in garbage bags when they are removed from their homes. Since Totes 2 Tots was first launched in 2003, the annual volunteer event has collected approximately 37,000 bags.
“It may seem insignificant to the rest of us, but for a child whose life is upended, these generous gifts offer some sense of stability in the transition to another home,” said DHS Commissioner Keith Horton. “The Totes 2 Tots program is not just another drive for a material need; it is a program that seeks to provide our state’s foster children with a sense of dignity and respect during a difficult time in their lives.”
For the 9th year, Totes 2 Tots received media support from WSB-TV’s Family 2 Family Project, the longest-running locally produced, comprehensive, station-wide public service effort in Georgia. Cox Media Group’s Atlanta radio stations B98.5, Kiss 104.1, 97.1 The River, and News/Talk WSB on 95.5 FM and 750 AM also provided generous support.
Approximately $235 in financial contributions also were made to Totes 2 Tots. The money will be used to purchase additional bags to meet the state’s need.
For more information about Totes 2 Tots, visit facebook.com/Totes2Tots.