Hometown Heroes: Control Over Chaos for Foster Kids
When young Noah Jones got a glimpse into the world of foster care, he created his own charity to help ease transitional times.
Photo courtesy Sara Jones
● Who: Noah Jones, 12
● What: Supplies foster kids with bags
● Where: Bowling Green, Kentucky
When Sara and Nathan Jones were training to become foster parents, their son, Noah, learned a tough thing or two about foster care. For instance, nearly 600 local foster kids changed families every year, and they carried their belongings from one home to the next in black garbage bags.
Noah, then ten, couldn’t imagine stuffing his clothes, favorite toy, and soccer ball into a trash bag and dragging it to a new house in the middle of the night. “Packing kids’ belongings into garbage bags is like telling them that their stuff has no more worth than trash,” says Noah.
So with help from his parents and younger sisters, Macy, then nine, and Molly, then seven, Noah began to collect suitcases and duffel bags from friends and extended family; he received more than 100 bags in less than two weeks. He then sent letters to churches and put ads in local newspapers and on radio stations asking for donations. Within a few months, the family was collecting about 500 bags a week, which they stored briefly in their spare bathroom and downstairs hallway before giving them to foster care caseworkers at the Department for Community Based Services.
In addition to suitcases, Noah now provides foster kids with backpacks containing shampoo, soap, a journal, and a toy—all donated. “My hope is that by giving the children things that are just theirs, they will feel a little control in the midst of the chaos,” says Noah. Noah’s group, A Case for Dignity, collects and distributes hundreds of bags a year. He recently convinced foster care managers from 15 Kentucky counties to pledge to use his bags instead of trash bags. “I’ve been so inspired by him,” says his mom. “If a ten-year-old can see a problem and create a solution, how much more can we do as adults?”