PITTSBURG — Children who enter foster care are given only a few moments to fill up a bag with their belongings. It’s often a trash bag.


When he was in foster care, Pittsburg State University student Samuel Swanson said he remembers what it was like to have about 10 minutes to stuff his belongings in a trash bag.


Swanson and his social work classmates had a discussion of project ideas and he decided that his project would be to purchase duffle bags to donate to TFI Family Services so the children who are entering foster care do not have to use a trash bag.


Through a bake sale at PSU, Swanson raised enough money to donate 50 duffle bags.


Not only did he donate the bags but he also left an encouraging letter with each bag to help children during this tumultuous time in their life.


“My name is Sam Swanson and you probably have no idea who I am and why you are receiving a duffle bag from me,” his letter reads. “I was a foster kid just like you about 10 years ago. I know what it was like, and I also remember what it feels like to have to carry a trash bag with your belongings in it from home to home...I am here to remind you that you can do this. You are stronger than you could ever imagine, and while this time in your life may not be great, it will not last forever...I might not be able to be there in person, but I can be there in spirit and cheer you on. You can do this and life will be so much better than you could ever believe.”


Swanson said he wanted them to have something from someone who has been in their shoes.


“To me, the letter was just as important because I remember being in foster care and you feel isolated and lonely and that no one will get how you are feeling,” he said.


TFI thanked Swanson for his donation.


“We are so grateful to Sam for his donation of bags, but also for his thoughtfulness and willingness to share a piece of his heart to help comfort others,” marketing specialist Taylor Forrest said.