Lufkin woman's non-profit organization helps foster care children across East Texas

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - More than a year ago, a Lufkin woman ventured into helping children in foster care, and now, her non profit organization called Bags of Love is helping more than a dozen counties across East Texas.

Hallie Ferguson was 7 when she was placed in foster care. She didn't know what was unfolding.

"I didn't really know or what was happening, and I remember my mom telling me to go with these people, and I remember it was a cop and then the CPS investigator, and so, I packed a set of clothes, and I had Barbie tennis shoes and then my little blanket that I sleep with," Ferguson said.

But what Ferguson needed the most, she realized later as a child, were her toiletries, which she didn't pack in a trash bag. Drawing on that memory of having only a trash bag to store everything, she used that experience to begin a non-profit called Bags of Love.

"When they (foster care children) are removed from their home, the bags offer just a little bit of comfort," said Kelli Slaga, a supervisor for Child Protective Services.

Across the nation, more than 430,000 thousand children are in foster care and nearly 100 children removed from home last year in Angelina County alone.

This year, the focus is on extended family members, volunteers, and social workers to develop a deeper bond with foster care children.

"All of us that come together that help these children through these difficult time and our hope is that makes those lifelong connections for them and permanency for them," Slaga said.

Just a year ago, Bags of Love started out in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties. Soon, Ferguson moved out her organization from her home and into an office at the Life Gate Church in Lufkin. The non-profit has delivered more than 800 bags to cities across East Texas.

"Throughout the community, we are seeing an influx of people who want to help out that are trying to do everything that they can to get involved," said Jeremy Elliott, vice president of Bags of Love.

The non-profit is partnering with two other organizations to fill bags which will be given to children going into foster care. The event is this Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Life Gate Church in Lufkin. They need volunteers and supplies if you would like to donate.

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