Midland's mom provides luggage for foster children - DatelineCarolina

Midland's mom provides luggage for foster children

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Luggage that was collected at the race went to children that have been placed in foster care in South Carolina. Luggage that was collected at the race went to children that have been placed in foster care in South Carolina.
T-shirts were made for the runners who participated in the race. T-shirts were made for the runners who participated in the race.

By: Beth Lemmonds

Heather Smith never wanted children, until she met Lilly. She met this special little girl through the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, which provides programs for volunteers to mentor children that are currently in the S.C. Department of Social Services' custody.

Five years and four foster homes later, Lilly was about to be adopted into a loving home. Heather and her husband were thrilled to add a new addition to their family. But what was supposed to be a happy moment for Heather, turned into a sad realization.

When Lilly arrived at her new home, all of her belongings were in trash bags.

"She had seven trash bags full of her belongings. Which were all clothes that were too big for her or too small and she probably has about three toys. That was it," she says.

This didn't sit well with Heather. So she set out on a mission: to make sure every foster child has a suitcase to call their own.

She founded Race for the Case, an annual 5K race to raise money, awareness and luggage for children who are in foster care.

Beth Mullins is the Director of Regional Resource Family Support for the D.S.S. in Columbia and has first hand knowledge of how one suitcase can impact a child.

"Having that suitcase, I think symbolizes that I can put things in there and this is mine," she says.

After the race was over, 1,200 suitcases were donated to foster care children in South Carolina.

Just because the actual race is over, people can still donate their new or gently used suitcases to any South Carolina D.S.S. location at anytime.

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