Girl, 8, helps kids going into foster care

Meredith Miller

During this season of giving, it’s important to remember those who are less fortunate and who could maybe use a little extra support.

Earlier this month, Truman Community Education did a service project in which it put together bags full of a variety of items to be given to children going into foster care. The idea came from 8-year-old Meredith Miller. She had seen something on TV earlier in the year about how when kids will go into foster care, they are taken from their home with only minutes to grab their belongings. Meredith understood that it is difficult to leave so much behind and place only a precious few items in a garbage bag.

“I just felt like it happens so suddenly,” Meredith said sadly.

Meredith asked her mother, Elizabeth Miller, if they could do something to help.

“She said to me, ‘Mom, can we do something to help those kids?’ and I just felt really proud of her for thinking of that and wanting to help,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth brought the idea to Courtney Studer at Truman Community Education. Community Ed worked with Truman Pride, and together they asked the community for a variety of donations, including bags. Nearly 70 duffel bags, backpacks, suitcases and totes were donated.

On Dec. 4, about 10 Truman school children and several community members met in the Truman High School learning center to assemble the bags, which would then be donated.

Two Martin County Human Services workers, Julie Brudelie and Kim Hastad, were there to talk to the children about what they do. They also re-enacted what it is like to pick up a child and take them into foster care.

“I think that helped them understand a little bit,” said Hastad, who is a home visitor for Human Services.

The volunteers present put a variety of donated items in the bags, including school supplies, hygiene items, books and small toys. Hastad said different items were put into each bag because kids in foster care range from very young to age 18 and their needs vary.

Hastad and Brudelie took the bags, which were then distributed locally and given to those in need.