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St. Mary's Students Make Suitcases For CASA Project To Help Children

Dec 7, 2022 (0)

CASA Suitcase Project. St. Mary's students and some advisors helped put together suitcases for children who are displaced suddenly into foster care.

O'Neill St. Mary's students helped solicit and receive donated items from individuals in our community during the month of Oct. On Wednesday, Nov. 30th, St. Mary's students helped CASA sort through donated items and put together suitcases. Eventually, these will be given out as a resource to abused or neglected children and youth of our community that have been removed from their homes, or to their respective caretakers. Children who are placed in foster care often arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Through the Nebraska Suitcase Project CASA Partners provides these children with an age-appropriate duffel bag or backpack.

Each bag contains a handmade quilt or afghan, clothes, toiletries, a stuffed toy, and books to give the child solace. No longer are the children in Spokane County's foster care system called the “garbage bag kids,” a term applied when personal belongings arrive in black plastic garbage bags. Even more important than providing for the basic needs for living, My Bag gives these children dignity and comfort at a very frightening and difficult time in their lives.

Since it's beginning in April of 1998, My Bag has provided more than 17,000 bags filled with love, dignity, and comfort for these children.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children. CASA of NorthCentral Nebraska's regional office is located at 115 N. 5th Street in O'Neill. CASA is currently recruiting for volunteers. For more information about CASA, to submit an application to become a volunteer, or to make a donation, contact: John Robert Smith, Executive Director at or at (402) 340-3185.

"I would like to thank those of you who donated items, as well as to the O'Neill St. Mary's Grade and High School students; principals Paula Akeson and Jennie Schneider; teacher, Bridget Schneider; the Thrivent Action Team and engagement specialist, Stacia Vawter; and the CASA of NorthCentral Nebraska Board of Directors, who all worked together to make our suitcase project a huge success," said John Robert Smith.


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