More than 4,200 bags donated to Totes 2 Tots

LAWRENCEVILLE -- During its eighth annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive, Georgia Cancer Specialists and Atlanta Oncology Associates collected more than 4,200 bags, nearly 300 of those from Gwinnett locations.

Totes 2 Tots, launched in 2003 by GCS, was designed to honor the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while delivering new or nearly new backpacks, suitcases and other age-appropriate bags to Georgia foster children.

Once held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the program now takes place on the Friday before to kick off a weekend of service.

For kids being transferred from home to home, organizers said, having something dependable in which to carry their personal belongings can offer dignity and hope.

"Leaving home is a traumatic enough experience for a child without them having to worry about what will happen to their belongings," said Assistant Commissioner Mark Washington of the Georgia Department of Human Services. "Something as simple as providing a piece of luggage for their cherished possessions is a source of comfort in an otherwise difficult situation."

The drive was held Jan. 15 at 23 GCS and AOA offices, including Johns Creek, Snellville and Lawrenceville. Georgia Cancer Specialists partners with the Division of Family and Children's Services to distribute bags in the counties in which they are collected.