When Zevon Moore, 14, and five other foster children arrived at Ollie Sharper's home outside Richmond, Virginia, they carried their belongings in a black garbage bag.Sharper, their foster mother, said that the children deserved "more than just a garbage bag" for their personal belongings and that the trauma of their lives could be eased with little things: the smell of her cooking in the kitchen, the sound of her voice calling when they come home from school and a suitcase to hold and move their clothing.
"These children's lives are important," Sharper said. "They're not trash that can be discarded."
Michele Jones, a restaurant owner, heard about the simple yet important need and started collecting suitcases from her friends and customers at Pasture restaurant in downtown Richmond.
"There are 288 kids in Richmond foster and that's my goal for today," she told ABC News recently.
So for the second time this year, Jones held a drive called A Case for Hope.
Restaurant owners across the city joined in, bringing new or barely used suitcases of every stripe and color. More than 500 pieces of luggage filled the restaurant's floor and visitors continue to bring them in each day.
Jones and Sharper said the donated suitcases were an easy way to tell the children that the lives they carry with them deserved more than a trash bag.
"Not everyone can take in a foster kid," Jones said. "I wish that everyone could. But if you can't, this is something small that you can do."
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