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Valrico woman collecting used suitcase donations for kids in foster system to keep belongings in

Posted at 4:03 PM, Nov 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-22 18:47:07-05

VALRICO, Fla. — A Valrico woman is collecting gently used suitcases in hopes of giving them to kids in the foster system so they have something to carry their personal belongings in. 

Oftentimes, children in the welfare system leave their home unexpected, and even unannounced. Their things are thrown in a plastic bag, usually a garbage bag. 

"How would you like to go around with your things in a bag, or a garbage bag," said Brad Gregory, President of A Kid's Place of Tampa Bay in Brandon.

The non-profit is a 60-bed facility for abused, neglected or abandoned children from newborns to the age of 18. 

Susie Lezaun recently found out about how children are removed often with only a plastic bag, and that didn't sit well with the mother. 

She decided to do something about the concept by asking for gently used suitcases, preferably the size of a carry on for these children. 

She created a Facebook page and gave her efforts a name called Suitcase Adventures.

"So that the kids feel like they’re on an adventure," said Lezaun. 

Gregory, who's been working with kids in welfare for over two decades says a suitcase boosts the kids' morale, "it's just great self-esteem," he said. "When they are leaving they can hold their head up high whether they're going or coming."

The hope is for the kids to keep the suitcase they are given to always have something that belongs to them and a way to carry all their things.

For more information on how to donate, reach out to a Suitcase Adventures, here. 

You can also find out about the A Kid's Place on the non-profit's website.