Local mom Cara Finger understands that all kids want to be seen as “part of the crowd” and that they loathe sticking out as “different” or “weird.” So when Finger saw that foster kids — through no fault of their own — end up carrying their belongings in trash bags if they have to move around in foster care (it happens a lot) it struck her to the very core.
    “All kids want to feel like they belong,” Finger says. “Carrying plastic bags filled with your stuff may seem small, but it’s demeaning and it hurts a kid’s self-esteem,” she adds.  
    According to adoptuskids.org, there are slightly less than 9,000 children in foster care in Tennessee (the opioid crisis has contributed to an increase in local foster care numbers) and fewer than 4,000 foster families willing to provide homes for them. This means that foster kids often end up moving from home to home due to unstable situations. It’s tough being an unwanted kid in foster care. Tougher still having to stuff your worldly possessions into trash bags.

TEAMING UP FOR A SOLUTION

Finger — who was adopted herself at 3 months old — has a strong desire in her heart to help children. She and her husband, Christian, have two adopted children of their own, so the foster-child plight is near and dear to their hearts.   
    Finger knew she wanted to somehow provide attractive, durable bags to foster kids in transition, and she started looking for a way.
    She reached out to a Belmont professor who encouraged her to start a nonprofit by connecting with Belmont’s Enactus program. The Enactus program, where students apply their hearts and skills to support local social entrepreneurial ventures, proved a perfect fit for Finger. Soon, My Bag My Story was born.
    Finger was able to locate a supportive manufacturer who produces the bags in support of foster care. The bags are fashionable, quilted, sturdy backpacks and duffels in appealing colors and with unique patterned interiors that anybody can love.
    By partnering with local agencies, Finger aims to provide bags for kids who are being moved about, but more bags will be needed.
    In order to keep My Bag My Story funded, bags can be purchased online at the reasonable price of $39 for a backpack /$49 for a duffel. The purchase of one bag for your personal use ensures that a foster child receives a bag, too.
    Today, Finger’s mission to help foster kids is coming true, but Finger’s not fully satisfied.
    “I’d like to get bags to foster kids outside of Tennessee,” she says. “All kids deserve a sense of value and self-worth.”
    So next time you’re in need of a new bag for yourself or your child, keep My Bag My Story in mind.
    “Hey, if you’re going to make a purchase,” Finger says, “make a purchase with purpose.”

    To learn more about My Bag My Story, e-mail info@mybagmystory.com. Follow the journey on Facebook @mybagmystory and on Instagram @mybagmystory.