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Backpacks aim to comfort kids taken into care

Kids who are taken into care often enter a foster home with almost nothing and one local group is trying to fill that void.

My LuvPak was the brainchild of Rebecca Hamm who says she was inspired after the adoption of her son. Around the same time a friend of Hamm’s became a foster mom and created a welcome basket for her new edition and Luv Pak’s were born.

Hamm says each backpack contains a few items to help the child settle into their new surroundings.

“We really wanted to meet their physical needs but also meet their emotional and psychological needs as well. So you’re going to find things like two snacks in the bag. A fuzzy blanket, something they can hide under or [if they] need comfort it can wrap around them.”

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There’s also a nightlight or flashlight in the bag. Hamm says a lot of the children have fears of the dark.

Hamm says they celebrated their one year anniversary in May but only went public with their service this fall. Hamm says it took time to set up the program and to connect with social services.

“I deliver all the bags to Child and Family Services, as many as they need, and they distribute them to the different sites or the kids in need. I’m also partnering with Sunrise House as much as possible and delivering the bags.”

Hamm says she hopes in the future to work with the local school divisions as well.

Right now she says she is distributing about 50 to 60 bags a month in the Peace region. The latest stats available from the province show there are about 5,800 children in care around Alberta.

Hamm says she has managed to connect with some factories directly for bulk pricing on backpacks, but a list of other items that could be used for bags is available online.

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