Georgia Cancer Specialists later this month will host its 18th annual Totes to Tots drive to collect backpacks and suitcases for foster children in Georgia.

Donations of new backpacks, duffel bags and suitcases will be accepted at locations across the state on the following dates:

Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Georgia Cancer Specialists’ Camp Creek and Hawkinsville locations

Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: all other Georgia Cancer Specialists locations in Georgia (including Atlanta, Alpharetta, Center Pointe/Sandy Springs, Douglasville, Emory Midtown, Hillandale, Johns Creek, Paulding County and the Stemmer building/Decatur)

Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: New Apostolic Church in Columbus

According to a news release, more than 14,000 children, from infants to teenagers, are in the state’s foster care system today. Many of these kids shuffle their belongings in garbage bags when they are removed from their homes.

Totes to Tots aims to change that by giving every foster child in Georgia a new backpack, duffel bag or suitcase. Since Totes to Tots launched in 2003, the annual volunteer event has collected and distributed more than 60,000 bags.

Georgia Cancer Specialists partners with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to distribute the bags in the counties in which they’re collected.

“The Totes to Tots program allows children in foster care the ability to transport their belongings with a sense of dignity,” DFCS Director Tom C. Rawlings said in the release. “By providing backpacks and luggage, Totes to Tots offers our children a sense of stability during an uncertain time.”

Totes to Tots originally took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a way to honor King’s vision of philanthropy and giving back to the community. The event is now held the preceding Thursday through Saturday to kick off a weekend of service in his honor.

“Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly;’ that is why the (Georgia Cancer Specialists) physicians and staff take pride in celebrating his memory by participating in Totes to Tots for the 18th consecutive year,” Dr. Cheryl Jones, vice president and chief medical officer at Georgia Cancer Specialists, said in the release. “By positively supporting foster children through this program, we are impacting not only their ability to feel valued, but our future when they succeed.”

For more information and a list of drop-off locations, visit gacancer.com/locations.

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