Did you know that most foster kids are given a black trash bag upon entering foster care to store all of their belongings?

For Niki McDowell, foster parent and mother of an adopted daughter, this fact really hit home. She decided to take action by creating Share Hugs, a Kansas-based organization dedicated to providing bags and blankets to children entering foster care.  To date, Share Hugs has donated 75 blankets and 145 laundry bags to foster children.

Relan was honored to partner with Share Hugs by creating mesh laundry bags made from banners donated by the Birmingham Museum of Art.

The laundry bags were designed with a flat bottom and a drawstring, so they could double as a storage bag and backpack. Each bag also included a unique design and custom label with space for the kids’ names and emergency contact information.

Perhaps even more rewarding is the fact that Relan’s partner at the Birmingham Museum of Art, also a foster parent, donated the banners before knowing how they would be repurposed.

I loved working with Kari and Relan. They created mesh laundry bags for me to donate to Foster Care Organizations to use for kiddos going into care. The bags were all one of a kind and so much better than trash bags. They worked on a custom label for the bags with emergency contact information. Now, I am working with Relan on products that I sell to raise more money to purchase more laundry bags. Thank you again for all the help! I can’t strongly endorse you enough.
— -Niki McDowell, Share Hugs

As a result of the generous donation by the Birmingham Museum of Art, Relan and Share Hugs were able to keep nearly 1,000 square feet of material out of landfills and create 130 bags for children in need. And because the bags are made from durable mesh, the children no longer need to rely on a trash bag to store their most treasured belongings.

If you would like to donate to Share Hugs’ mission, visit their website at www.sharehugs.org.