As several of S.P.E.W.’s members know first-hand, being put into foster care can be a very scary thing. To make it worse, many times children go into the system with very little. Help us provide local foster children with something of their own to help them through their difficult time!
What is S.P.E.W. and the Red Suitcase Project?
The Society for the Promotion of Equality and Wonderment (or S.P.E.W.) is the Charleston chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance. We aim to use pop culure to bring people together to make good things happen, and this project is no exception! Tied to both Harry Potter AND Doctor Who, this will be S.P.E.W.’s first Imagine Better project.
Harry Potter’s school trunk is described in detail in nearly every single book — it is a constant in his ever changing (and ever dangerous) life. Then there’s the Doctor’s companions — often after their first foray into time travel, they pack up and return to the TARDIS with suitcases in tow!
While we can’t afford to purchase real school trunks or take them on a wondrous adventure in a Time and Space machine, we can provide them with a suitcase of their own to take with on their own difficult journeys, and fill them with things to make it a little bit easier.
What We Need
Each suitcase costs a little over $50 to make. This includes:
- The Suitcase: ranges in price from $18-20 (depending on the sale), we buy ours from wayfair.com
- a hand-made blanket: we try to buy our fleece when it goes on sale, usually 4 or 5 dollars a yard (sometimes we get a little luckier). This makes them cost anywhere from $10-15 each.
- Toiletries: toothpaste/toothbrush, wide-tooth comb, soap, shampoo, deoderant, lotion, and tissues, plus sanitary pads and hairties for girls, for a total of about $8
- Activity books: in the first 5, we included a seek and find and an art book, for a total of about $10
- a journal and pencil - $3
What You Get
Each level also includes everything above it!
- Thank you! $1 — For this donation, we will include your name in a special page on our website (charlestonHPA.blogspot.com).
- Thank you very much! $5 — for $5, our members will get together and personally thank each and every one of you by name in a thank you video!
- Aparecium $10 — We put inspirational quotes in the front pocket of each suitcase for the children to find — for $10, we’ll let you pick the quote!
- Temporal Tipping Point $25 — We will send you a thank-you card signed by all of the S.P.E.W. members present at the 2 meetings following the end of our campaign.
- Accio Suitcase! $50 — we will include a picture of the suitcase you helped us make with your thank-you card! Please note that this means your thank-you card may be delayed; we can’t send it until we get your suitcase packed!
- It’s gonna be FANTASTIC $75 — Some of our members are a little musical; we’ll get together and make a thank you song for anyone donating this much!
- Bigger on the inside $100 — This is almost enough for two whole suitcases! We’ll send you pictures of both, and we’ll also let you pick a book (reading or activity, in addition to the activity books we put inside) to add to one of them. Want to add a book to both (or even more) suitcases? Just add an extra $10 to your donation of $100 for each book you’d like to add!
- Happiness, Found $200 — The title of this perk comes from the quote “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”. You are helping us flip that switch, and we want to thank you by sending you a hand-made blanket with a special message from the members of S.P.E.W.!
The Suitcases will be given to DSS to pass out to children as they enter the system. Because so many come through each year, they will be focusing on handing them out to the older children (10-17) in the worst situations.
Having a suitcase to carry belongings in instead of trashbags can reduce the embarrassment that foster children often feel, and providing them with blankets and toiletries will reduce some of the stress of worrying if everything they need will be provided.
In one of our member’s experience as a foster kid (and we know there are many others who had it even worse!), the first house she went to, she had no soap, no shampoo, and had only a thin blanket to shiver under. She had nothing to do but sit and agonize over what was going to happen. S.P.E.W. is determined to make sure that as many children as possible in our area will have the things they need to help them through such a difficult and sometimes traumatizing experience.
Other Ways You Can Help
Not able to donate monetarily but still want to help?
Help us spread the word about this project! The more people that know, the more who might be able to help, and who knows? Maybe our story will inspire people in other areas to start something similar for their community!