Nonprofit seeks to uplift the dignity of foster children
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Volunteers gathered Tuesday at the Kern County Department of Human Services Annex Building for a packing party in an effort to help foster kids in need. From backpacks to books, hygiene products, and more, volunteers put together care packages for local foster youth.
“We wanted every child to get a brand new pair of pajamas, to get their own hygiene kit, their own book, their own stuffy,” said Rob Scheer, the founder of the nonprofit Comfort Cases. “We wanted to give them an activity.”
For Scheer, the mission is personal. Once a foster child himself, he says he knows the struggle many foster kids deal with on a daily basis.
Now a father of four, Scheer adopted his children through the foster system and says that led him to devote his life to helping foster kids with Comfort Cases.
“When that child enters foster care, they’re actually handed a trash bag. Just imagine, you know? It’s not acceptable. The most vulnerable people in our world, in our country, that we are actually giving them a trash bag and not thinking about the fact how that does to their mental state,” said Scheer.
One of the partner organizations collaborating with Kern County Human Services and Comfort Cases is Anthem Blue Cross. Anthem Regional Vice President of Local Engagement Beau Hennemann says the partnership is a way to make an impact for the kids receiving Comfort Cases.
“I know the Comfort Cases group we are working with, they do this all across the country. I have heard many positive stories. This is actually the first time working with them here in Bakersfield and in the state of California, but very excited to be here and excited to see the impact that this has on the kids,” said Hennemann.
Hennemann adds that the event is also a great way for organizations to work together to help foster kids, and the comfort bags they are making will also help build self-esteem.
“Putting them together with a backpack, something to give them more dignity,” said Hennemann. “Have something nice to carry around as opposed to using a trash bag or something else.”
Scheer says he recalls when he had to leave his foster parents’ home with his belongings in a trash bag, and that is one of the reasons he created comfort bags.
“Trash bags were invented for one reason, and that was to put trash in there, not your clothes. Not your clothes, because the moment that happens, it degrades you as a human, and we all deserve dignity,” said Scheer.
If you are interested in volunteering or in making a donation to help foster children, please visit the Comfort Cases website.
Learn more here.