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National organization helping bring dignity, hope to Maine foster youth

After retired teacher Lesley Robinson heard about Comfort Cases, she knew she had to bring it to Maine.
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 6:56 PM EDT
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Maine (WABI) - A national organization with a local footprint is looking to provide some happiness for Maine’s foster children.

Comfort Cases is a Maryland-based nonprofit that provides backpacks full of clothes, toiletries, a book and a stuffed animal for foster youth.

It all started after the founder saw foster children carrying their belongings in trash bags.

“Essentially what is being said to you is that, if you have anything, it’s trash. So, to have some something that is theirs, that they can take, is a very big advantage,” said Lesley Robinson with Comfort Cases.

After Robinson, a retired teacher, heard about Comfort Cases, she knew she had to bring it to Maine.

The program has sent out thousands of cases all across the state, and foster parents say the impact is noticeable.

“The first few nights are just getting to know the kiddo. It’s pure survival mode, so having those basic needs met makes all the difference,” said Erica Page, a former foster parent.

Page has adopted three children and was a foster parent for 17 more kids. It’s an experience she says has changed her life and one that’s facing a dire need.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of family members who never dreamt they would be taking foster parent training classes, but have had to step in as kinship placements. People don’t think that they can do it, but I always say that everyone can be a foster parent one time,” Page said.

There’s one story that Robinson will never forget.

“I pulled out the stuffed animal, and her answer was, ‘Is this really mine?’ Every time I think of that little girl, it makes it all worth it, and then some,” Robinson said.

Page says each of these unique children have one thing in common.

“No kiddo asks to be in this type of a situation, so the more we can do to help lessen the trauma that kids go through when they are removed from their home, the better,” Page said.

“If we can make this happen out of the goodness of people’s hearts, then it’s really special,” Robinson said.

You can make financial donations online at ComfortCases.org.

Locally, Comfort Cases Maine is always looking for stuffed animals, pajamas, toiletries and, of course, backpacks.

You can drop those off at Alberta’s Hair Salon or at Star 97.7 Radio in Ellsworth.

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