I joined Junior League of Wichita in 2016, and my favorite event of the year is here: Trash Bag Handbag.
Organized by the League’s Child Advocacy Committee during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Trash Bag Handbag aims to raise awareness for children suffering from abuse and neglect in our community and children in out of home placements.
Starting Monday, April 8, League members swap out handbags, purses, backpacks and totes with… trash bags.
Often when children are removed from a home and placed in police protective custody, they don’t have time to pack a bag. They might not have a bag. Instead, their belongings are shoved into a flimsy plastic bag, or a trash bag. Trash Bag Handbag’s goal is to raise awareness about this issue and funding for bags.
Helping us in our endeavor to raise awareness this year are eight community leaders: Annette Lawless, Anchor/Reporter for KAKE News; Claudia Amaro, AB&C Bilingual Resources, LLC; Judge Kevin Smith, Sedgwick County District Court Judge; Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse, 4th District; Susan Estes, Junior League Sustainer; Susan Humphries, Kansas State Representative; and Vendla Smith, Owner/Director Zinta Inspired Language.
Junior League of Wichita Major Fundraisers
We are an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Our focus area is child abuse prevention, intervention and awareness. Much of our volunteering and fundraising goes to supporting that mission and combatting child abuse and neglect.
Holiday Galleria, an annual shopping event held at Century II in Wichita, is our first major event of the year. Net proceeds support the League’s mission. The event has contributed more than $5.8 million and more than $44 million in the form of volunteer hours to the Wichita community.
Kitchen Tours, an annual home touring event, is our final major event of the year. Net proceeds also go to supporting the League’s mission. During Kitchen Tours, homeowners across Wichita open their doors to showcase their historic kitchens, remodels, local businesses and more. This year, we’re strolling around Wichita’s College Hill neighborhood to tour some of the city’s oldest and most interesting homes.
The League decides on one major project in our focus area to dedicate fundraising and volunteer efforts each year. Sometimes projects last multiple years.
Most recently, the League has partnered with and committed $150,000 to the Wichita’s Children’s Home for a period of three years. Our goals are to help young moms through mentorship, assistance with secondary education opportunities and by stocking the BabyMobile, a van that delivers critical self-care items to young parents transitioning to independent living.
You can help stock the BabyMobile and the Wichita Children’s Home by donating items on their wishlist.
How You Can Help
During Trash Bag Handbag April 8-12, swap our your usual bag for a sack. We use grocery store-sized blue sacks, but any old sack will do.
Engage people in conversation about why you’re carrying your wallet, phone, gym clothes, lunch, etc. in a sack instead of a bag and talk about what the League and our ambassadors are doing to help children in the Wichita community.
Can’t commit to the bag? Don’t worry. We get it. Wear blue, donate and encourage others to do so as well.
More than fundraising, though, we want to raise awareness about the issue of child abuse in our community. Yes, the funds are needed. Fresh start bags are needed. More, Kansas needs more mentors for children, more CASA volunteers and more foster parents to fill the gap between caring homes and children in need.
- 2019 Child Welfare System Task Force Report: Learn
- Kansas CASA Association: Become an Advocate
- Kansas Children’s Service League: Volunteer
- Wichita Children’s Home: Foster
Disclaimer: Ambassador Judge Kevin Smith is not raising funds. He is an advocate for children in our community and will be a voice for the event.