It was a jarring realization for Marsha Mamerow when her two foster children showed up at her house with their few belongings in garbage bags. So, when she was looking for a service project for her Girl Scout troop, Mamerow came across Sweet Cases for Foster Kids. The project buys duffle bags for children going into foster care.
"It's disturbing, you know, the kids are distraught, they don't know what's going on. A lot of times they're crying," explained Capt. Christy Knowles of the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office.
Knowles is also a Girl Scout Troop leader, whose troop is also helping with the project. Knowles said she's seen it happen many times and hopes the Girl Scouts will learn how lucky they are.
"They told us that they have to carry their stuff in trash bags and we thought that's just heartbreaking for them to have to do that," said Lilly Michaels, one of the Junior Girl Scouts.
Now the girls are raising money- hoping to reach $1,100 to purchase 40 duffle bags for children, which have a teddy bear, blanket, coloring book and toothbrush in them. They plan to distribute the bags in Ozaukee and Sheboygan Counties.
Knowles said Ozaukee County has 15 kids in foster care, with 25 licensed foster families. In Sheboygan County she said the need is even greater, with 175 kids in foster care and 75 registered foster families.
The girls get to decorate the bags before the children get them. They tell TODAY'S TMJ4 they'll put hearts, trucks and jokes on the bags to brighten the children's day.
Mamerow said the experience of being a foster parent has already paid off in lessons her children have learned. Her girls, who are both girl scouts participating in the project, said they don't want to ask for much this Christmas, as they know many kids don't have the toys they have.
If you'd like to learn more about the project and help the Girl Scouts, you can go to: https://www.togetherwerise.org/fundraise/troop8402