Children needing to be placed in the foster system are often moved without any notice, and Brunswick Electric member Barb Dullaghan wanted to make sure they had some things of their own while settling into their new place. Her goal was to provide these children with duffel bags filled with age-appropriate belongings, including personal care and grooming items, activities, a blanket, school supplies, a journal, string backpack, and stuffed animals.
“My mother was a foster child, carrying her few things from place to place in a garbage bag,” Barb recalls. “I wanted to help these children and knew I couldn’t do it alone. Some of my neighbors were on the board of the North Brunswick Kiwanis Club, and they agreed to help.”
Barb joined the North Brunswick Kiwanis and began chairing the Project Dignity committee. The club donated $2,500, they received a district matching grant, and in 2019 they provided duffel bags for 75 children aged six to 12. With help from community volunteers, private donations and grants, including a Community Grant from BEMC, they have since provided 150 more duffel bags for babies, children and teens, including some for the Boys & Girls Homes of NC at Lake Waccamaw, where Kiwanis sponsors a cottage.
The duffel bags are distributed to social workers by the Department of Social Services and foster families by Jordan Anderson, who operates a foster closet called Love is a Verb, located at Supply Baptist Church. Barb is also working with Brunswick Family Assistance to have flyers promoting their food pantry at Love is a Verb as well as beginning a relationship with Waves4kids to reach foster children aging out of the system. Another important partner in this effort is AA Self Storage, who has been donating a storage unit for the duffel supplies since the need outgrew the Dullaghan’s home.
“Our partners are amazing,” said Barb. “Jordan told me about this eight-year-old little girl who came in with her foster father. Jordan gave her a duffel bag, and she was going through it, very excited, and she asked Jordan, ‘When do I have to give it back?’ Jordan said, ‘You don’t have to, it’s yours’ and the little girl started to cry. When I heard that, it reinforced why we’re helping.”
To make a donation
Donations can be made by mail to:
North Brunswick Kiwanis
PO Box 391
Leland, NC 28451
Please indicate Project Dignity in the memo line. Do not enclose the donation with your electric bill payment.
Email Barb at: firstname.lastname@example.org