BY MICHAEL WALTON
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A little brown bag can make a big difference in a foster child's life.
That's the premise behind Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan's 24th annual Brown Bag Campaign. The Record-Eagle, a sponsor of this year's campaign, will insert a special paper bag in all newspapers Tuesday. Readers can use the bags to mail a donation to the private nonprofit foster care group. Last year's fundraiser netted roughly $34,000 in donations.
"That was our best year yet," said Gina Aranki, a spokeswoman for Child and Family Services. "Let's see if we can beat it this year."
Money raised from the brown bag campaign funds developmental and recreational activities for foster children, like sports, arts and dance lessons, and summer camp visits. Aranki said this year's campaign also seeks to raise awareness about a shortage of local homes for foster children.
"This year we find ourselves in a really tough recruitment place," Aranki said.
Child and Family Services annually serves about 300 children of all ages in foster care and more than 150 other youths through programs aimed at combating abuse and neglect. It opened in 1937 and currently serves communities from 15 counties in the northwestern lower peninsula.
"The Record-Eagle is again honored to assist Child and Family Services in raising awareness and needed financial resources to protect northern Michigan’s children from abuse and neglect," Record-Eagle Publisher Neal Ronquist said. "Please take the time to read the brown paper bag included in (Tuesday’s) Record-Eagle and donate whatever you can to help create a better community for all of our children."