Members of the 163rd Attack Wing delivered suitcases, backpacks, and duffle bags to a Riverside foster-care agency Jan. 11, 2017.
The new and gently-used bags were donated by wing members during a luggage drive held throughout the holiday season.
Maj. James Goss, who serves as the Medical Readiness Officer for the 163rd Medical Group, organized the drive after learning about a luggage shortage among foster children.
“These kids don’t have anything,” Goss said. “They lose their family, they lose everything, and sometimes they have to move so quickly they gather what they can and shove it into a grocery bag.”
Leslie Lucas, the transitional housing director Walden Family Services’ Riverside location, said having their own luggage would make sudden moves easier on the youth.
“Sometimes our kids don’t have much notice about when they have to move,” Lucas said. “Not having to put their stuff in (plastic) bags will make it a little more personal and will make the move less traumatic and easier for them.”
As a paramedic for more than two decades, caring for children in crisis is close to his heart. He has seen first-hand the effect a family crisis can have on kids. “It’s just a heartbreaking situation,” Goss said.
This is the second luggage drive Goss has organized, but his first at the wing. It was a successful effort and people from throughout the wing donated, he said. “I saw people coming over that I’ve never seen before,” Goss said.
He plans to organize another luggage drive in the future, but first Goss is working on a spring drive to collect clothing for foster infants and children.