Bags of Love seeks donations at event Friday

      EUGENE, Ore. - Bags of Love creates handmade bags which are given to more than 40 agencies in Lane County who put them in the hands of kids in need, like those kids who are in the foster care system or those served by Womenspace or the Red Cross.

      Volunteers not only make the bags, which can also serve as a pillowcase, they stuff them full of necessities a child being taken from their home may need: a change of clothes, pajamas, a handmade quilt and toiletries, as well as a toy or stuffed animal.

      Even the simplest item can mean so much to a child going through a tough situation.

      "We had one kid who he - during Christmas time we wrap everything up - and he unwrapped his toothbrush and he held it up and he said 'my very own toothbrush', and to me that really hit home that something as small as a toothbrush, insignificant, meant the world to him," said Kathryn Gaines, Bags of Love executive director.

      Bags of love relies on donations from the community to do what they do.

      On Friday, May 9, they are inviting the public to come down to TJ Maxx on Coburg Road in Eugene and stuff a bus with donations of gently used clothes for ages newborn to 17: new underwear and socks; toiletries; school supplies; or small toys.

      The owner of "My Party Bus" said every donation makes a difference.

      "It's definitely like a bag of hope," Sean Lee said. "It lets them know there are people out there looking after them, that care about them, and a lot of people, many many people who are involved in one single bag."

      Bags of Love turns out about 140 bags a month, but the need in lane county is 400 bags a month.

      If you can donate items, or if you'd like to donate a gift card so they can purchase needed items, you can drop them off at the bus in the TJ Maxx parking lot tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.