WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Each year more than 250,000 children will enter the foster care system and many times with nothing but a trash bag with their most precious belongings. To provide foster youth with extra support, two local nonprofits were gifted with Comfort Cases Wednesday.
These bags are filled with must-have items to ensure foster kids no longer go their new homes with trash bags or empty-handed.
“I grew up with very abusive parents, lived in and out of every shelter on the east coast and when I was 12 my parents died and I went into what we consider the foster care system,” Comfort Cases founder Rob Scheer said.
Scheer stayed there until he was 18-years-old. Now, Scheer travels near and far to tell his story to thousands.
“Two weeks after my 18th birthday I was handed my trash bag, and I became homeless,” Scheer said.
Scheer said he spent his entire senior year in high school living on the streets digging through trash cans to find food and going days without showering.
“I was one of the 438,000 kids in the system that everyone has forgotten that hath made us feel invisible, disposable,” Scheer said.
It is because of those painful yet strengthening experiences that gave Scheer the drive to jump start Comfort Cases.
“This is 32-inch duffle bag that every single child who comes into the system will get one of these,” Scheer said.
Each backpack is filled with the essentials, things every child should have, blankets, pajamas, toiletries, books and of course, something to make them feel safe.
Kile Bateman heads the Phased In project which takes care of kids who have phased out of the foster system.
Bateman said he knows first-hand how much of a blessing these bags will be.
“I think what phased in has done for several years, what this organization is doing is bring quality and spirit of excellence and love into these kids lives,” Bateman said.
“I hope by giving a child more than a trash bag when they start their journey, we will let kids know that we do love them and they do matter,” Scheer said.
Scheer said he believes every child deserves to feel a sense of dignity and he hopes these cases will now provide comfort to area youth here in Texoma.
While comfort cases have only been in existence for six years, the program has helped thousands of youth in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
One hundred backpacks were packed Wednesday, 50 donated to CASA and the other 50 to the Children’s Aid Society.
To donate or find out more about Comfort Cases, follow this link.