When Joe Johnson learned that foster children often move into a new home with nothing but a trash bag full of belongings, he immediately wondered how Patterson Kia of Arlington could help.
On Tuesday, the car dealership found a way. Patterson Kia’s “Drive for Hope” campaign donated 300 backpacks full of supplies to Arrow Child & Family Ministries in Arlington to hand out to area foster children.
“We want to wish these children the best of luck, and we want them to know we love and care about them,” said Johnson, the dealership’s general manager. “We hope these backpacks will help them along their journeys.”
The red and black Adidas backpacks come stuffed with blankets and pillows, pencils, notebook paper, folders and a composition book.
Arrow will hand out backpacks to the current 113 children in foster care and new ones who come into their care through Child Protective Services. Last year, Arrow placed 330 children in foster homes.
“These children have been through so much by the time they are placed in foster care,” said Jacqueline Clark-Winfrey, a family home developer for Arrow. “The backpacks give them a small piece of comfort. Now they have a little something to call their own.”
Tuesday morning, as employees of Patterson Kia hauled boxes of backpacks into Arrow’s office, Johnson said the company is always looking for ways to give back to its community, including the annual coat drive it organizes with the Arlington school district.
“We feel grateful to be able to participate and help out kids and families in the Arlington area,” Johnson said. “We look forward to working with Arrow in the future on any needs it might have.”