The Unseen Impact: How New Bags Bring Dignity to Foster Children

Children face numerous challenges during their journey through the foster care system, with one of the most heartrending being the loss of personal dignity and stability. Moving from home to home with their belongings stuffed in trash bags can erode a child's dignity, sense of belonging, and self-worth. 

How Possessions Define Us

The symbolism inherent in the trash bag can prompt children to question their worth, pondering, "Does this mean I am less valuable?” 

While material objects don’t define a person, research suggests that possessions communicate our identity and values to others, our sense of self, our relationships with others, and our attitudes and behaviors.

The Difference a New Bag Can Make

Your first thought might be to donate extra suitcases, duffle bags, or backpacks you have, driven by a commendable desire to help. However, it's essential to understand that using second-hand or worn bags can inadvertently emphasize the unique situations of foster children, often making them feel different from their peers.

Providing these children with new bags is pivotal in their social integration and development. Buying a new bag allows them to blend in more easily with their peers and promotes a sense of normalcy and inclusion. As a result, a gift of a new bag has profound emotional benefits.

Recognizing this, organizations like My Bag My Story have started programs to provide new, high-quality bags for these children. These bags are not just for carrying possessions; they are symbols of care, respect, and acknowledgment of the children's value and dignity.

​​How New Bags Restore Dignity

The benefits of providing new bags to foster children extend beyond the practicality of moving belongings. They include:

  • Elevating Self-Worth and Dignity: Providing new bags to foster children does much more than simply offering a means to transport their belongings; it is a powerful affirmation of their value and individuality. 

Unlike the degrading and impersonal experience of carrying one's life in a trash bag, receiving a new personal bag can be a profound gesture of recognition and respect. It’s an act of kindness signaling to the child that they are seen, worthy, and deserving of dignity, directly countering feelings of invisibility and worthlessness that can arise from their circumstances.

  • Fostering Stability and a Sense of Belonging: For a child navigating the foster care system, life can feel like a series of temporary placements, each move eroding their sense of security and belonging. 

A durable, personal bag symbolizes stability and continuity in a world of change. This personal item can offer a tangible sense of ownership and a constant in a child’s life, reinforcing the idea that they have something to hold onto, no matter where they go.

  • Supporting Positive Mental Health and Well-being: The impact of receiving a new bag extends into the emotional and psychological realms, significantly influencing a foster child's mental health by alleviating the embarrassment and shame associated with moving belongings in trash bags. 

A new bag sends a message that the child is worthy of care and respect, which can be instrumental in fostering resilience and a positive outlook on life. Initiatives like these can play a crucial role in helping children overcome the stigma attached to their situations, paving the way for improved mental health and emotional well-being.

  • Encouraging Empowerment and Future Orientation: Beyond the immediate benefits, providing new bags to foster children can also encourage an outlook oriented towards growth and future possibilities. It's a way of telling them that their current circumstances don't define their worth or their future. It can motivate foster children to envision and strive for a better tomorrow, understanding that there are individuals and communities who believe in their potential and are willing to support their journey.

Help Us Provide Dignity and Hope for Children and Youth in Care

Gifting new items transcends mere practicality; it is a potent symbol of attention, worthiness, and support. Such acts of kindness can profoundly impact the self-esteem of a child or youth in care, conveying the powerful message that they are valued and entitled to the same chances as their peers. The simple gesture of providing a new bag can become a significant instrument in fostering their overall well-being and supporting their emotional and social growth.


Donating new bags to foster children is a meaningful way to support their development and well-being. It gives them a sense of belonging, eases transitions, promotes educational success, encourages self-esteem, and supports personal hygiene and organization. Your contribution, no matter how small, can make a big difference in the lives of these children. Help us  #EndTheTrashBag!