McKenzie Baxter (Photo: Submitted)
A Sturgeon Bay area girl is looking for help sewing and filling pillowcase bags for children in foster care.
When McKenzie Baxter was 11 days old and her brother David was 2, the two entered foster care in Texas. The siblings were eventually placed with Steven and Trista Baxter in Wisconsin. Steven is their uncle. Later the couple adopted the children. For the last two years the family has welcomed foster children into their home. Unfortunately, due to family obligations the Baxters will not be renewing their foster care license.
After hearing the news McKenzie, 8, felt called to continue helping kids whose life stories were similar to her own.
After talking with her mom, Trista Baxter, McKenzie decided she wanted kids coming into care to have something nice to put their belongings in. This grew into the idea of pillowcase drawstring bags. Since children sometimes come into care with nothing, the bags would also supply them with necessities like toothpaste, toothbrush and pajamas.
"It's not nice to make kids carry their clothes and stuff in trash bags. They should have something (nicer) to put their clothes in," she said.
The Baxters had children stay with them who arrived carrying their belongings in trash bags.
"The kids that we had sometimes, they didn’t have anything to carry their things in," said Trista Baxter.
The slogan of McKenzie's campaign is: No child deserves a trash bag.
McKenzie kicked-off Little LAMB (Little Angel McKenzie Baxter) by reading a letter at Crossroads Church in Sturgeon Bay asking for support in gathering donations and supplies.
The project has quickly begun to grow. Starting Thursday, donation boxes will be available at Senior Center, 832 N. 14th Ave., Sturgeon Bay; Econo Foods, 1250 N. 14th Ave., Sturgeon Bay; Rural Mutual Insurance, 3030 Park Drive, Sturgeon Bay; and Crossroads Church at the Sturgeon Bay High School, 1230 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay. Hours for the church is 9-11 a.m. each Sunday.
Needed items include: pillowcases, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, snacks, notebooks, pens and pencils, crayons, all sizes of pajamas, a small blanket, small flashlight, all sizes of socks and underwear, hair ties, brushes and combs, books and small stuffed animals.
The collection deadline is Dec. 13.
McKenzie and her mom are still looking for places to put donation bins, and volunteers to help sew the pillowcase bags. Once the donations are in and the bags are ready, volunteers will be needed to help fill the bags.
Filling the bags is important because foster families are not always prepared for a new child to come in, said Trista Baxter.
For more information on how to help, contact Trista Baxter at (920) 559-0149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact reporter Samantha Hernandez at email@example.com, @svhernandez on Twitter or (920) 743-3321, Ext. 112.