‘Tis the season for giving and the Baltimore Ravens have teamed with Carbiz and Maryland CASA Association to provide presents to 300 foster children living in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.
Through the “GiveBack CarePacks for Kids” campaign, area residents can play Santa to children and youth truly in need of essentials and entertainment items to brighten their days.
“We are very excited about this partnership with Carbiz and the Ravens and believe that it will help us promote awareness about the needs of children and youth in foster care,” said Ed Kilcullen, state director of Maryland CASA Association, which supports the state’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs.
Approximately 10,000 children are under court protection in Maryland today as a result of abuse and neglect. About 7,400 of these children are living in foster care where they remain an average of three years before being placed in permanent homes.
“The children and youth served by CASA often have nothing to carry their belongings in when they move from one home to another,” Kicullen added. “The backpacks – and the items that will be stuffed inside – definitely will be put to great use.”
Maryland CASA has gathered wishes from hundreds in foster care: toddlers through 20-year-olds.
“We have a growing number of older foster youth who are aging out of the system and moving out on their own,” Kilcullen added. “These young people often need all of the basics to set up their new home so we are hoping to fill some of the backpacks with household items to help them get started.”
Sample foster child profiles and wishes are as follows:
- Keith is a 6-year-old boy who would love a big dinosaur toy!
- Jake is a 13-year-old boy with autism who is working on improving his speech and communication, and enjoys being outdoors. His foster mom is helping him save money to buy a bicycle and helmet.
- Jaqueta, age 17, needs shoes and clothes or gift certificates to help buy the items.
- Bradley is a 3-year old boy who loves animals and “Little People” toys.
- James is a 16-year-old boy who is into wrestling. He would enjoy wrestling magazines or a wrestling book.
- Maggie is 19 years old and looking to start living on her own. She would like household items (utensils, dish towels, etc.) or a gift card to Target to help her get settled in her new home.
Carbiz, Maryland’s largest independent auto dealer, has artfully displayed the child profiles throughout its showroom, located at 6001 Reisterstown Rd., Baltimore, Md. 21215, as well as online at http://www.scribd.com/doc/115645023/E-Ornaments.
“We are happy to partner with Maryland CASA because we believe in CASA’s mission and hope to make this holiday season a little brighter for children in our community,” said Evan Berney, owner and general manager at Carbiz. “We do this because we can, because we care and it's how we were raised – to take care of those around you.”
Donors can choose a child profile and fulfill that child’s wish by bringing the requested items – before Dec. 31 -- to Carbiz, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information or directions, visit http://carbiz.com or call (443) 436-0088.
Those outside of Baltimore can mail the items to “GiveBack CarePacks for Kids,” c/o Maryland CASA, 402 W. Pennsylvania Ave., 3rd Fl., Towson, Md. 21204. For more information, call 410- 828-6761.
The Carbiz staff will stuff the items into backpacks donated by DTLR (Downtown Locker Room), a leading footwear and apparel retailer on the East Coast and Midwest.
In addition to the satisfaction of giving to those in need, carepack donors will get a gift themselves – an invitation to a private party at Carbiz where they can be photographed with Ravens, Justin Tucker and Ray Rice, whose Ray Rice Charitable Fund has donated 100 additional backpacks filled with school supplies for Maryland’s foster youth.
“Every kid deserves a strong support system, and CASA makes that happen for these kids,” Rice said. “We should all do our part to pay it forward.”
What’s more, Tucker and Rice also will hold a special meet & greet with the foster children receiving the carepacks.
“I know Carbiz does great things for the community and I know CASA does amazing work for kids, so I wanted to bring attention to these two wonderful organizations,” Tucker said.
Maryland CASA Association is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ensuring the rights of all victims of child abuse and neglect to grow up in safe, permanent homes. This mission is carried out in partnership with the state’s15 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs, which provide trained volunteer advocates to speak up for the best interests of children. For more information, visit www.marylandcasa.org.