invisible hit counter
Program looks to help abused children
Audrey Gibbons has seen abused and neglected children struggle to leave bad situations.

As a former case worker with the Department of Family and Children's Services, she has answered phone calls in the middle of the night to intervene on behalf of children in abusive homes, met police at the hospital to provide support to neglected children and conducted investigations in schools.

"If you've ever been a case manager and you get a call in the middle of the night to pick up these children who are abused and neglected ... your heart just goes out," Gibbons said.

That's why she is passionate about making it just a little easier for children to leave bad environments.

Along with the Interdenominational Sunday School Council, which consists of 11 local churches, she is helping to sponsor a luggage drive for the local DFACS as part of the national Campaign for Children in Poverty. The drive will begin Tuesday and close on Nov. 13.

The group donates to a local nonprofit organization each November. Last year, it conducted a similar drive and received 30 sets of luggage.

Gibbons' goals are higher this year. She knows that many times children have to leave their homes at a moment's notice and don't know how long they'll spend in foster homes.

"Children don't choose to be neglected or abandoned," Gibbons said. "They just find themselves in these situations."

It can be a traumatizing experience for a child, but being able to bring things from home makes the transition less painful, she said.

"As a former case manager, we always try to give them an opportunity to take something personal with them," Gibbons said.

New or lightly used luggage is needed for both boys and girls.

The luggage will be presented to DFACS at 4 p.m. Nov. 18 at Bethel Baptist Church, 900 Bartow St., Brunswick.

HELP OUT

New or lightly used luggage may be delivered to St. Andrews Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, 2101 Albany St., on Tuesdays through Nov. 13. Donations will be accepted from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.



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