Louisville mom on mission to collect 1,000 suitcases and blankets for kids in foster care
The initiative is called "Roo's Wish" and donations will be accepted through December 20.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Every year, thousands of kids enter foster care often given only a trash bag to carry their only belongings. A Louisville foster mom wants to change that by making sure every kid in foster care gets a piece of luggage to call their own this Christmas.
Take a look around Charlene Shipley's basement, you'll see blankets piled high and suitcases lined up by the dozen. Shipley sees something else.
"Every bag and blanket symbolizes a child. A child that's alone, that's scared, and doesn't think they have anybody who cares," said Shipley.
A child like her own foster daughter, Roo, who was once alone in this world, but is now home for Christmas with the Shipleys.
"When I look at her, she symbolizes all the 8,000 kids just in Kentucky alone in foster care. And I want to help them, "said Shipley.
The 5-year-old little girl has sparked the collection of blankets and suitcases filling Shipley's basement. It's a mission called "Roo's Wish." With her own foster daughter as the inspiration, Shipley set out to collect 100 suitcases and blankets for kids this Christmas. Oftentimes when a child moves from home to home they are forced to keep their belongings in a trash bag.
"Their whole lives all they've known is awful, awful things. And here we come in as a community and we give them a trash bag. And we are reiterating what they've been told their whole lives," she said.
Shipley says it all comes down to dignity.
"We are here to show the kids that we care and they deserve more than a trash bag," said Shipley.
In early November, Shipley posted on Facebook asking for donations.
"I woke up and it said 50 share, 100 shares, 180 shares," she said.
Churches, sports teams, businesses started jumping on board. Complete strangers started leaving luggage at her front door. She's already surpassed her goal collecting 265 suitcases so far. Now she's determined to reach 1,000.
"We are here to show the kids that we care and they deserve more than a trash bag," she said.
Shipley considers this the first step in fixing a broken system.
"We have to start at the bottom, start scratching things off the list so we can get to the next one and when we get to the stop that unbearable problem won't be so unbearable," Shipley said.
Shipley and her entire family are doing everything they can to make sure Roo's Wish comes true in time for Christmas.
"I just like to see her face and how happy she is," said Joshua Shipley.
"I just think of all the kids we get to help and how everybody has helped us help other kids," said Madison Shipley.
Donations will be accepted through December 20.
Items can be dropped off at Louisville Laser located at 2114 S. Hurstbourne Parkway or you can find the group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RoosWish/.
Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.