You just never know from where life's inspirations may come.  One of Hallie Ferguson's worst life events came over two decades ago, and then, at the age of 29, she called upon that memory to inspire herself, and in doing so, inspire and help others.

When she was 7, Ferguson was taken away from her mother.  She was given a trash bag and told she had 5 minutes to gather her life. Flash forward to over 20 years later when at the age of 29, Ferguson had just bought two duffle bags to use as gym bags. For some reason, this triggered the terrible trash bag memory of years ago, but instead of letting that glimpse into the past just pass by, she had an idea...a divine thought, if you will.

Hallie Ferguson wanted to help ease the pain of children who were having to go through what she went through some years ago.  She knew she couldn't necessarily stop the process, but what if these children going into the system were given a durable duffel bag for their belongings? And, wouldn't be great if these kids were given some basic necessities until they could make it to a store?

That's how 'Bags of Love' was born.

Bags of Love is a non-profit organization that provides bags for every child going into a foster system in our local community. Bags of Love provides duffel bags that include a few items, such as stuffed animals, blankets, and books, that will help make these difficult times a little easier on these sweet children. On every duffel bag is printed "Psalms 27:10", which is a reference to “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”  This was inspired from Ferguson's stay at her second foster home at which an elderly neighbor gave her a Bible and a post-it note with that verse typed on it.

Bags of Love was developed to bring dignity, hope, and love to children entering the foster care system by eliminating the need for trash bags to transport their belongings. Foster children have the right to a dignified experience while in foster care. These children deserve to have something brand new that belongs to them, and most importantly to know that they are loved. NO CHILD DESERVES A TRASH BAG!!  Bags of Love is committed to helping foster children start out on the right path by providing them with their very own duffel bags all of which are filled with age and gender appropriate items such as a blanket, stuffed animal, a book, necessary toiletries, and a bible.

Bags of Love has also been very beneficial to our CPS workers during emergency removals. Often in the emergency, the child/children must be removed immediately giving no time for packing, and or sadly have nothing to take. Several CPS workers have reported keeping “Bags of Love” in their vehicles for these types of situations giving them ability to provide for them immediately in their time of distress where they normally might not have been able to.

Thus far Bags of Love has received $12,000 in donations and has made almost 1,500 bags that have been delivered all over East Texas. However, the demand continues to increase and more supplies, money, and support are needed. You can help by donating travel size toiletries - ages 0-18, throw blankets, books, coloring books and crayons. If you would like to donate money please make your check payable to: Bags of Love.  Local donations may be dropped off at The UPS Store in front of Conn’s

Support for this worthwhile project from the state of Texas & DFPS would greatly help to enhance the coverage area these bags are able to reach as our mission is to have Bags of Love being used in every CPS office state wide.