By Makenzie Atkins
A FishHawk resident, Maurena Rotering, has been creating goody bags for children in the foster care system in our area with the help of donations from community members.
Rotering has always felt a tug on her heart to help others. In the past, she worked with the Celebrate Birthdays organization. After this experience, she decided she wanted to help children in her community, which brought her to A Kid’s Place.
A Kid’s Place is a nonprofit organization in Brandon that houses children who have been pulled from their homes. In the past, it was very common that sibling groups of two or more were removed from a home and split up to different homes. Knowing how detrimental that is to a child’s overall well-being, A Kid’s Place focuses on keeping those siblings together by having multiple homes each with a house parent so that siblings can continue to live together. With five homes on its campus, it is a big family that goes through supplies quickly. Rotering likes to focus the goody bags on not only fun things but also items that A Kid’s Place is in need of for the children.
Rotering posted on Facebook that she was looking for supplies to gather and make goody bags. One FishHawk resident donated a 120-piece set of sidewalk chalk, and another donated hundreds of small containers of Play-Doh. Rotering is so thankful that her community wants to help her mission of making the children at A Kid’s Place feel special.
“With all these kids have been through, it’s exciting to receive a goody bag,” said Rotering, “even if it’s not your birthday you get one, and it makes them feel special.”
While candy is always a fun addition to any goody bag, Rotering enjoys making them fun and unique. She always creates a theme for the bags and includes toys and other goodies that match the theme. One idea she loved was her beach bags, where she drew swimsuits and beach balls on the bags and included things like mini beach balls and fun sunglasses.
Not only does Rotering spend time making goody bags, she also does good work through social media. She scrolls through the local Facebook Marketplace, a part of Facebook where you can list items for sale and finds items that have been listed for a few days. She messages the sellers and informs them about A Kid’s Place and how they can donate their items if they cannot find anyone to buy them.
For more information, contact Rotering at 707-365-1834.