Every year, more than 24,000 children 'age out' of foster care. They often age out, feeling hopeless, helpless and alone. Their 'stuff' packed in black garbage bags.
Just imagine - here you are twelve years old and today, out of the blue, you were forced out of your home. A house you've lived in all your life. Just now, two strangers called social workers and two policemen ripped you out of the arms of your whaling mother. They hand you a black garbage bag and say you have five minutes to put as much as you can inside of it. The rest of your belongs left behind.
Crying and confused, you are escorted to a home you've never been to. The door opens, you are crying and shaken by the recent events. You wonder what just happened as you look into the eyes of the strange woman standing before you. You are told this is your new home and this is your new foster mother. You've never heard of the word foster before and have no idea what this means, but you are in a state of shock and don't even think to question it.
The strangers who escorted you there, leave. Your new 'mom' introduces you to your new 'siblings' and your new bedroom. You are shown a dresser and two drawers that now belong to you. As you empty your black garbage bag into the new drawer, one of your 'new siblings' notice bugs crawling on a pair of pants.
The bugs infest the home and you feel worse than the black garbage bag that carried your buggy belongings. The foster family is angry they can't get rid of the bugs. They are devastated they can't afford the expensive treatments that follow an infestation such as this. You and your new siblings can't go to school because you are now 'infested' and the school can't afford to take the chance.....
And the story grows from here.
The story is real and unfortunately plays out every day all across America. This is a growing epidemic, especially with children & youth living in alternative living situations.
When Helen, the founder of Fostering SuperStars and a former foster child, told the story of the black garbage bags to Andrea, the founder of PEST Relief International and Mattress Safe Inc., Andrea knew God had big plans for both organizations. And, for foster children across the nation.
Together, they created 'My SAFE-BAG'. Mattress Safe is a company who produces bed bug certified mattress encasements, among other bed bug certified products, and P.E.S.T. Relief International creates clean and sanitary sleeping spaces for those in need of financial assistance and have a pest relief situation.
When Helen was hired as the Marketing & Social Responsibility Director for Mattress Safe & P.E.S.T. Relief International, she and Andrea decided to partner their individual 501(c)3 non-profit organizations and do good together for America's foster children. That's when Fostering SuperStars became the foster care division of P.E.S.T. Relief International.
My SAFE-BAG not only substitutes the black garbage bags children in foster care move around in, but also provides caregivers a way to keep their homes safe and free from bed bugs, or lice. My SAFE-BAG serves as a layer of safety and confidence to children, or youth who are in the middle of traumatic events.
We can't change their situation, but we CAN help restore their hope & dignity.
My SAFE-BAG ~ Healing Hearts One Child at a Time