My college pal Marsha Todd Austin runs a non-profit benefiting youth in foster care called Hope In a Suitcase. The mission is to provide a shopping experience where youth come into a department store kind of set-up and are ushered around by a volunteer to “shop”. Each youth receives an allotted amount to spend in points, not dollars, filling up a whole luggage bag with essential clothing items and some fun things too.
Understanding how youth in foster care are moved around a lot and typically have all of their belongings in a trash bag, Marsha gets luggage donated for each event. It’s a really intimate way to interact personally with each young person who comes in. Some are really shut down and some are more outgoing, but all have been let down and betrayed by those who are supposed to take care of them. Marsha does not receive government funding. Our government has also let down this population. It’s up to us to bridge the gap. Volunteering is a great way to spend your day, and let me tell you, bringing a platter like this Crostini Station from Heirloom LA makes you really popular with other volunteers who you have never met! When the news makes me feel hopeless and any other myriad of things get me down, a great prescription to pull me out of it is to feel useful by volunteering at one of the many non-profits that resonate for me. It’s not hard to find good ones!
Throw in some Lasagna Cupcakes too. Everyone is nourished and appreciated!