Barrington High students get $10,000 to help foster children

 
 
Posted11/30/2016 5:30 AM
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  • Tom and Darby Hills present a check for $10,000 on Tuesday to Barrington High School students on the Let It Be Us board. The students assist children entering foster care by providing them with a backpack filled with personal care items, blankets and other necessities.

      Tom and Darby Hills present a check for $10,000 on Tuesday to Barrington High School students on the Let It Be Us board. The students assist children entering foster care by providing them with a backpack filled with personal care items, blankets and other necessities. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Junior Nick Buerckholtz, right, shakes hands with Darby and Tom Hills on Tuesday after they presented a check for $10,000 to Barrington High School students on the Let It Be Us board.

      Junior Nick Buerckholtz, right, shakes hands with Darby and Tom Hills on Tuesday after they presented a check for $10,000 to Barrington High School students on the Let It Be Us board. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Barrington High School students who have given children entering foster care more than 700 duffel bags filled with supplies over the last year received a $10,000 grant Tuesday to expand their operations.

The students serve on the teen board for Let It Be Us, a Barrington-based foster care advocacy nonprofit. Their effort to prepare bags of personal items and other necessities for new foster kids is called Project Dignity.

The group assembled Tuesday afternoon to receive the $10,000 check from Barrington Children's Charities.

The bags are filled with items like shampoo, toothbrushes and blankets. The $10,000 donation comes at a time when Project Dignity is working with more and more foster homes around the Chicago area and beyond, said co-president Maggie Horak, a Barrington High junior.

Part of the reason for the growing demand is how important the bags can be for the foster children.

"Kids come in to foster care with nothing," said Elizabeth Felice, a Let It Be Us board member.

Susan Stoga, another board member, said in recent months the group has sent bags to children as far away as in the Quad Cities and Springfield.

"These bags aren't light," Stoga said, gesturing to the bags sitting on a nearby table. "Some funds will be used to get them to southern Illinois."

Darby Hills, a founder of Barrington Children's Charities, said the cause is particularly worthy because it not only helps foster children but also teaches Barrington High students about compassion.

Jennifer McAndrews, the Let It Be Us board chairwoman, said that is one of the reasons they ask students to deliver the bags to local foster children.

"It is great for the teenagers to see the reactions of the kids getting them," McAndrews said.

Prior to the grant, the group's main source of funds came through donations and occasional pizza sales to their hungry classmates after school, said Barrington High junior Ryan Cremer.

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