COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - More than 11,000 children are currently in the foster care system in Georgia, and about 500 of them are in Muscogee County.
With many of them moving from home to home, some don't have a way to pack their belongings.
"One of the employees at Georgia Cancer Specialists was a foster mom. It broke her heart when she saw one of her foster boys come to the house carrying his belongings in a trash bags," said Christine Seyfert, a totes 2 tots board member.
As a way to honor the vision and philanthropy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Georgia Cancer Specialists and Northside Hospital in Atlanta have used their MLK weekends for 14 years to help foster children in the state.
For the past two years, Seyfert has helped to organize the suitcase drive in Columbus.
Totes 2 tots gives new or gently used backpacks and suitcases to foster children. More than 400 bags were dropped off at New Apostolic Church on Billings Road ON Saturday afternoon. In 2015, only 286 bags were collected in the Fountain City.
"Totes to tots was able to reach farther in the into the community than it did last year. Because the word spreading so much, it touched the community hearts and they were able to give," said Seyfert.
DFACS workers keeps the bags in their cars and are given to children when they're removed from a home.
"Emails and letters from the Department of Family and Children Services from the children saying thank you. They are so appreciative of it each year that we've been doing this," said Darrell Dobey of Chairman of totes 2 tots.
With 28 drop-off locations statewide, more than 41,000 bags were given to children who need a way to carry their belongings since 2003.
Pi Kappa Alpha, CSU students and the Honor Society at Smiths Station High School were volunteers for this event, along with the motorcycle law enforcement group Blue Knights #5 of Georgia.
Lunch for volunteers were provided by Courier Express in Atlanta for Saturday's drive.
If you would still like to donate a bag you can drop it off at your local DFACS office. You can also make a financial donation to totes 2 totes or call 1-877-716-2273.