‘Foster Hope’ drive fills 105 suitcases for kids in foster care

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 1:02 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 11:14 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Kids grow so fast, often before the clothes we buy them show any signs of wear.

So, what’s a mom to do with all those gently used clothes?

One Bismarck woman came up with a solution that not only decluttered her home but will also help kids in need. Turns out her idea was exactly what many other moms were looking for.

Tracey Pruess isn’t really a new year’s resolution kind of person.

“I knew I wasn’t going to lose weight, you know, like, I’m not about that,” she admitted.

But she did want to get rid of some clothes that no longer fit her son.

“I just couldn’t throw them away, but I didn’t know anyone who could use them,” said Pruess.

A conversation with a friend sparked an idea that led to a basement full of gently used kids’ clothes and toys.

Pruess’ idea was quickly dubbed “Foster Hope.” She wanted to collect items to give to kids in foster care.

“My goal is an outfit, a blanket and a few books in each suitcase,” she explained.

She posted about the idea on Facebook, sharing her story of once being in foster care herself. And the donations just kept coming. She teamed up with Little Lights Pediatric Therapy and the South-Central Thrashing Association, and this week, volunteers gathered to pack all the items into brand new suitcases.

Eleven-year-old Girl Scout Natalie Rangeloff heard about the project and wanted to help.

“We packed suitcases for kids that need help,” said Rangeloff.

She and her grandma filled nine suitcases. Then, Rangeloff helped pack even more.

In all, Foster Hope filled 105 suitcases.

“This grew beyond my wildest dreams,” said Pruess.

They’ll be given to kids in foster care in Burleigh and Morton counties.

“It’s going to be huge for kids that are coming into foster care that have nothing because they often between homes with nothing. This is going to give them something,” said Krisann Miller, owner of Little Lights Pediatric Therapy.

All this, because one mom had an idea.

“This is the result. The wonderful, wonderful, amazing result,” said Miller.

The Foster Hope drive is complete, but Miller says she’s always willing to take donations to help kids in foster care.

As many as 85 percent of the kids they work with at Little Lights Pediatric Therapy are in foster care.

You can contact Miller at Little Lights if you’d like to help.