Totes 2 Tots hosted its annual suitcase drive

LAWRENCEVILLE-- Totes 2 Tots has collected more than 30,000 bags in 11 years for Georgia's foster children -- and on Friday, the public added to that number.

"We realized there was a need for foster children," said GCS of Lawrenceville's Clinic Supervisor, Johanna Edwards. "When they get placed into homes, they usually get placed into homes with garbage bags and pillow cases."

Totes 2 Tots is determined to provide as many foster children as possible with suitcases or backpacks in order to simplify their all too frequent relocations.

GCS is a partner of the Division of Family and Children Services. At the end of the donation day, a DFCS representative picks up the collections and takes them to be delivered to children in need.

Edwards said that there is no way to estimate how many bags will be donated because you never know who might stop by.

For example, Edwards said that in a previous year, "we had an organization drop off a truck-load of bags, like over 100 bags."

However, many donations come from GCS patients and staff. A number of staff members took their lunch break to go and buy more bags for the drive.

Donations to Totes 2 Tots directly help kids in the county in which they are collected. With over 8,000 foster children across Georgia, Totes 2 Tots can never collect too many bags.

Edwards said that her goal for the Lawrenceville clinic is to collect over 150 bags for the cause.

The Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive is typically held the Friday before Martin Luther King Day, but Medical Assistant Greta Taylor said she has seen much later donations. "Even days after I was loading up my truck and taking (bags) to the DFCS office ... I ended up taking maybe thirty extra bags."

This is Taylor's third year working with Totes 2 Tots and said extra work is needed to organize the volunteer efforts.

"Sometimes it's a little bit of work the night before, but you don't mind when you think about why you're doing it," she said.

Totes 2 Tots was held at 24 locations across Georgia on Friday, but donations are always welcome.