Elliott, Powell, Baden & Baker insurance agency needs your vote by August 31 to win $10,000 for Project Never Again. Read about their amazing dedication to extending compassion and dignity to children in foster care by providing duffel bags for their belongings. Then vote for them by using the social media share buttons or by leaving a comment when you reach the end of their story.
Dignity through duffels
On top of the trauma children entering foster care may have endured comes an additional humiliation. When they move to a foster home, their belongings are typically placed in a trash bag, not luggage.
Seema Steffany founded Project Never Again in part because of her own experience as a child left roadside with her belongings in a small box. “It is not what my belongings were placed in but rather, how this experience made me feel is why Project Never Again exists.”
“How this experience made me feel is why Project Never Again exists.”
– Seema Steffany, founder and president, Project Never Again
Because Project Never Again is a small organization with no paid staff, nearly all of their funding goes directly toward getting duffel bags into kids’ hands. Hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life join in at events to prepare thousands of bags and write “courage cards,” personal messages of hope and inspiration inserted into all bags.
About 10,000 kids are currently in the Oregon foster care system. They’ve typically experienced neglect or other traumatic experiences and may feel angry, fearful and a deep sense of loss when they move to a foster home. A duffel bag with a personal note, journal and luggage tag they can write their name on provides a sense of dignity and shows them someone cares about their well-being.
Caring for the most vulnerable
EPB&B insurance has been serving the Portland area for over 70 years. “Supporting our community is part of the culture at Elliott, Powell, Baden & Baker. It is in our DNA,” says EPB&B’s president, Marc Baker. “We are always looking to support local, grassroots organizations that make a difference to those in need in our community, and Project Never Again hits the mark.”
Just one month after meeting Seema, Marc and his staff designated Project Never Again the recipient of the agency’s 2021 holiday fundraiser. Through the strong relationships the agency has built among customers, professional partners and staff, they succeeded in raising $10,600 to support Oregon kids entering foster care.
“We are always looking to support local, grassroots organizations that make a difference to those in need in our community, and Project Never Again hits the mark.”
– Marc Baker, president, EPB&B Insurance
In addition to the holiday fundraiser, EPB&B staff have participated in courage card events and will be among 200 volunteers attending a duffel packing event in August.
A duffel for everyone in need
A Safeco Make More Happen Award will allow Project Never Again to continue to purchase duffel bags, supplies for courage cards and luggage tags for children in foster care, with the hope that no child has to live with the shame of carrying their personal items in a trash bag. Additional funds would allow the organization to expand their outreach, recruit volunteers for courage card and duffel packing events, and pay for gas to transport duffel bags to Oregon Child Welfare offices.
How to Vote
If your agency volunteers with a 501(c)3 nonprofit, learn how you can win a Make More Happen Award here.