Volunteers help foster kids with 'Bags of Love'

EUGENE, Ore. - In an old heated warehouse building in West Eugene, a group of nearly a dozen dedicated volunteers meet every week.

The building is full of boxes of donations of clothes, toiletries, and school supplies that will soon be placed in draw string bags by the volunteers.

The non-profit organization is called "Bags of Love." Di Barrong started the movement in 2008.

"I started working for some people that took some foster kids," Barrong said.

It was then when Barrong saw what foster kids went through first hand.

"If they were lucky they came with maybe a pair of underwear and a change of clothes and that was it," Barrong said. "It was sad to watch."

In no time, Barrong decided to begin collecting basic necessities for the kids in Lane County.

When the donations outgrew her bedroom space, she decided to make her cause public and recruited volunteers to help out.

Now there are 50 active volunteers that meet weekly to pack draw string bags with a quilt, clothes, toiletries, school supplies, and toys.

"In June we made 185 bags," Barrong said.

The bags are ordered by various agencies in the area that help foster children. These include Shelter Care, DHS, and Women's Space.

For Barrong, she said her favorite part is receiving letters and thank you cards from agencies and foster kids.

"It feels good, I like that," Barrong said. "I like to know that the kids are enjoying the bags, that's what it's all about. It's about making sure their lives are more fulfilled."

Through "Bags of Love," Barrong said she can help give the children what they need, plus a little more.

"That's why I call it 'Bags of Love,' because they are filled with love from volunteers," Barrong said. "It's all love towards these children and that's important to them."

If you would like to donate new or like new clothes, toiletries, or school supplies to the cause, they can be dropped off at 710 Commercial Street in Eugene.

For more information you can contact the Bags of Love office at (541) 357-4957 or visit them online.