Broadlands community launches donation drive to assist foster children

Comfort Cases founder Rob Scheer (center) at the November 2017 packing party organized by the Broadlands Homeowners Association. This year's event will be held Nov. 10 and 11 at 9 a.m. at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn. 

Comfort Cases, a charity based out of Rockville, Maryland, that supports children in the foster care system by giving each child a backpack or duffel bag with essential items, is receiving some local support in Loudoun.

Julie Holstein, who works for the Broadlands Homeowners Association, was  researching ideas for a nonprofit group to support, when she discovered a video for Comfort Cases, which was founded by a high school friend, Rob Scheer.

He started the organization with the hope that he could provide a backpack or duffle bag filled with essential items so every child in the foster system would be traveling with dignity from home to home without packing their belongings in a trash bag.

Scheer's story of surviving in the foster system as a child and his organization inspired Holstein to initiate a fundraising campaign in Loudoun. 

“I thought it would be a great one to appeal to all ages and would bring our community together for a great cause,” Holstein said.

The first event in May 2017 saw the local group filled 60 cases.

This year several schools are involved by assisting with collection boxes and volunteers, including Mill Run Elementary, Eagle Ridge Middle School and FBLA chapters at Stone Bridge, Rock Ridge, Riverside, Loudoun County and Briar Woods high schools.

Suggested donation items include shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, stuffed animals, books, deodorant, pajamas and small duffel bags or backpacks. A complete list of items can be found at comfortcases.org.

The local volunteers have a “very aggressive goal” of filling 1,000 bags this year, according to organizers.

A donation drive has begun and will continue during the month of October for the fall packing party on Nov. 10 and 11. Both days will begin at 9 a.m. at Briar Woods High School.

“This is a fabulous volunteering event since people of all ages can help, and it's a great community outreach event. We have had many students, adult individuals and families show up together to volunteer and pack as many Comfort Cases as they can and it's great to see everyone working together."

Those wishing to help can contact Holstein at julie@broadlandshoa.com.

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