A Columbus woman and her sister hope to brighten the lives of young children after organizing an event that involves decorating two dozen duffle bags, which will be given to a local foster care organization.

The event from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Lucabe Coffee Co., 310 Fourth St., is through Together We Rise, a nonprofit organization based in Brea, California, that works with foster agencies, organizer Chelsea Bales said.

Bales, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Columbus, is working with her sister, Amanda Adams, who lives in New York, on the project.

Bales said she learned about Together We Rise after seeing a post on Facebook and then reached out to the organization to see how she could help.

Bales and Adams were able to raise $600 after they started a fundraiser in January that will be used by Together We Rise to purchase 24 duffle bags. The bags will be filled with a teddy bear, blanket, coloring book, crayons and a hygiene kit provided by the organization.

Once the bags are decorated, they will be given to Benchmark Family Services, a foster care agency in Columbus, Bales said. She added that she has always had a soft spot for children who are in foster care.

“It’s my way of giving back,” she said.

Bales said she and her sister were able to raise money after links to a fundraising page provided by Together We Rise were posted on Facebook, which allowed them to help raise awareness about their efforts.

“It happened way quicker than I thought it would,” Bales said of the fundraising effort.

Benchmark Family Services has 47 placements available for foster children, said Taylor Miller, licensing specialist with the organization. Miller said placements can take five to six months and up to two to three years in some cases.

She added that Benchmark Family Services, which has offices in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas, is appreciative of Bales’ efforts to support the organization.

“We’re always grateful for all the local community support we get,” Miller said.

While additional monetary donations will not be accepted during the bag-decorating event, Bales said she hopes people will get involved and help those in need. The event is free and open to the public.

“It’s a great way to give back,” she said.

If you go

What: Duffel bag-decorating event to benefit Benchmark Family Services, a foster care organization that has an office in Columbus

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lucabe Coffee Co., 310 Fourth St.

More information: Event is free and open to the public

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com