Foster Love Project

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They arrived at our door with a trash bag of a few dirty belongings. Three faces (ages 5, 3, & 8 months) stared at us as we stared back at them. The case worker handed us a few clean diapers and one dirty bottle and drove away. Did we really have any idea of what it meant to be foster parents?  Foster training versus reality hits you very quickly! We introduced our four year old and two old to them and began the transition of what it would look like to go from a family of four to seven with a few short hours notice. 

This scenario played out several times for the Hughes family during a year when we fostered seven children. Our final two foster children ended up needing a forever family and we welcomed them as our official children through adoption in the summer of 2015. But our hearts were still burdened for ways to love and care for kids in foster care as well as lift up the arms of the foster families who are on the front lines of the roller coaster of foster care. 

 With often short notice of their arrival, it can become a scramble for foster parents to have basic clothing and necessities for the children. The Foster Love Project was created to encourage donations of placement bags. Did you know that their few belongings are usually placed in a black trash bag? We want to provide them a bag to eliminate the trash bags! Placement bags can be placed in the hands of newly arrived foster children and give them some small comforts, meet some basic needs, and give them something to call their own.

We had our first donation drive in December of 2014 and were overwhelmed and amazed at the wonderful response. We received over 1,345 bags which have been placed into the hands of many local foster agencies. Our second drive in 2015 brought in over 1,800 bags which have now been distributed to over 21 agencies & shelters in 10 counties through Western PA!
These agencies include The Bair Foundation, Auberle, Family Pathways, Three Rivers Adoption Council, Pressley Ridge, Every Child, Inc., Bethany Christian Services, Gwen's Girls, A Second Chance, Project Star, Wesley Spectrum, Beaver County CYS, The Hope Center, Haven, Westmoreland County CYS, The Center for Victims, Women's Center of Beaver, Victims Outreach, Adelphoi Village, Washington Co. CYS, Try Again Homes + more!  
We also collected packs of diapers and received over $3,500 in gift cards for restaurants and Target/Walmart. These are being distributed to foster families during their times of transition.

A vast pool of volunteers allowed everything to come together!

We are not currently holding a collection drive, but we encourage everyone to watch for deals on these items and build bags throughout the year. Our next collection will begin in October 2016.

Items needed for each placement bag:
duffle bag, large backpack or diaper bag for infants (must be a zippered bag)
pj's (all sizes, both summer and winter needed. We need more baby and teen guy sizes.)
throw blanket
stuffed animal
toothbrush/toothpaste (fluoride free for little ones)


Optional additions:

coloring book/crayons
teens: deodorant, lotion, feminine products

These additions are wonderful as long as they can fit in the bag you provide and still be zipped closed. 

*We ask that each item be new with the tags left on and no food of any kind be placed in any of the bags (excluding formula).

Please be sure all items in your bag correspond with the same age/gender. Teen pj's = teen book, newborn pj's = same size diapers, boy pj's = boy blanket, ect....

Because of the magnitude of donations, we can only accept complete bags (the first 9 items listed above), but we encourage you to pair up with a friend if needed to complete a bag!

If you would like to request these tags for your bags, email Kelly at for a template. Please print them on cardstock and attach with strong twine to the outside of the bag if possible. 

We say a huge thank you to the scout troops, basketball teams, high schools, moms groups, businesses and elementary schools who took this on a group project! 

Our drop off locations played such a huge part in making this possible! They included Snapology (South Hills), Chick Fil A (South Hills, Washington + Waterfront), Three Rivers Grace Church, Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library, ESSpa Kozmetica, Subway (Rt. 19/Cranberry + Zeli), Ridgewood Church, Murrysville Presbyterian Church Preschool, Little House Big Art, Holy Family, CDTCA, Fox's Pizza (Sarver), A Mother's Boutique, Cadillac Ranch, Uno Pizzeria, Double Tree Hotel (Monroeville), Iceoplex at Southpointe and The Cathedral of Learning (Oakland). 

Thank you to the Don Farr Moving Company and Two Men and a Truck Pittsburgh who donated their time and resources to help in this project. We were greatly assisted by the guys from Summit Academy as well.

Media coverage included Pittsburgh Today Live,  an interview with WPXI-TV, article in the Post Gazette, a feature in Kidsburgh, and so many amazing Pittsburgh bloggers who spread the word in a big way!
Kelly is available on a limited basis to speak to your group about the Foster Love Project and foster care in general. Contact her at  

We are excited and grateful to see these placed in the hands of local foster kids!

Follow us on facebook to see more pictures or stay updated on our next drive. 


Anonymous said...

Hi there I was wondering if u atill so the book ago thing? My hubby and I are goin to become parents in the near future my mom was one that mentioning your site few weeks ago.

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