Hugpacks: Project to Benefit Foster Children
NCJW Greater Long Beach & West Orange County provides “hugpacks” for foster children in our community. The project, started 18 years ago, was so named because we would like to give each and every child entering the foster system a loving hug. Four times a year, 150 backpacks are provided to children from different grade levels, ranging from elementary through high school.
We collaborate with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (LACDCFS). Our enthusiastic members and cochairs decide on the contents, shop, pack, and deliver the hugpacks to the LACDCFS, and social workers distribute them to the children. The hugpacks are filled with school supplies, books (through a grant from Long Beach Rotary), gender-specific hygiene items, dental supplies (donated by the Children’s Dental Health Clinic), scientific calculators, and age-appropriate games or toys. We also include a “Good Luck” note from NCJW.
We have received letters from social workers, the Director of the LACDCFS, and from some of the foster children, expressing their appreciation for filling some of their needs, and, most importantly, for caring about them. One high school girl wrote, “I didn’t know what Jewish was and now I know they are people who care.”