A veterans group is making a big effort to help a special group of local children.
The Mount Airy American Legion Post 123 has donated $500 to a duffel bag program aimed at helping children in the Surry County foster care system. The program is the brain-child of Melissa Mundy, whose husband Curtis is a member of the post.
Mundy used the $500 donation to purchase items such as hygiene items, coloring books and small toys to be placed in duffel bags. When a child goes to a foster home, he or she is given a bag that matches the child’s age and gender. Tuesday evening’s initial contribution was 20 bags packed with the supplies.
Mundy said her work as a guardian ad litem and her personal experience in adopting the couple’s 14-month-old grandchild, Arayah, brought the need for such a program to her attention.
“Foster children would get a trash bag filled with used items when they entered a home,” explained Mundy. “In this program they get something new to call their own.”
Each bag also includes a photo album, so that children can keep memories forever. Bags for older children also contain a journal.
Right down to the duffel bag itself, the program is meant to give a child entering the foster care system a positive outlook. Mundy explained the bags were decorated by other children and included uplifting messages. Additionally, children will always know who made the program possible, with each bag marked with “American Legion Post 123.”
Jane Humphries, who serves as president of the Surry County Foster Parent Association, said the bags will be a big help.
“Most kids show up with nothing,” said Humphries. “This gives them a place to start and something they can call their own.”
Humphries said 100 percent of donations made to her organization make it to the hands of children in the Surry County foster care system.
Legion commander Gary Willard said he was approached by Curtis Mundy for the donation, and after Legion members heard about the program, the body of members stood behind the Mundy family’s efforts.
“Our body thought it was a great idea,” remarked Willard. “If all goes well, we will look at continuing to sponsor it.”
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.