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State Honoree

Brittany Heath

Texas

started a chapter of “Suitcases for Kids” in her community, collecting, cleaning and distributing more than 400 gently used suitcases to children in foster care during her program’s first year. Inspired by a magazine article about Aubyn Burnside (program founder and a 1998 Prudential Spirit of America National Honoree), Brittany sent for Aubyn’s program starter kit, then started making phone calls. The directors of the Lubbock Children’s Protective Services program and the Community Partnership Program agreed to sponsor and assist Brittany by providing a storage facility for donations. After setting up a special “Suitcases” voice mailbox for donor calls, designing business cards and writing a brochure, Brittany contacted the local newspaper, which published an article about the project. The response was overwhelming: more than 100 messages offering help and donations jammed the voice mailbox during the first two days. Community support continues, and Brittany hopes to expand her “Suitcases for Kids” efforts to include foster care children in other counties around Lubbock. “This project will continue forever,” Brittany said. “It is something that will always be needed as long as we have kids that have to go into foster care.”