Lucky Luggage: Logan Square Couple Seek Suitcases for Foster Kids

By Victoria Johnson on June 6, 2013 7:10am 

 Theresa McMullen and Nick Harvey pose with the kind of suitcases they hope people will donate to foster children. They are holding a suitcase drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday in empty lot next to Family Dollar, 2260 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Theresa McMullen and Nick Harvey pose with the kind of suitcases they hope people will donate to foster children. They are holding a suitcase drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday in empty lot next to Family Dollar, 2260 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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DNAInfo/Victoria Johnson

LOGAN SQUARE — At last count, there were nearly 18,000 children in foster care in Illinois, and many of them have a very specific need that's easy to overlook: luggage.

Foster children are often shuttled from place to place, so one Logan Square couple decided to do what they could to ease that difficult task.

"They have to move unexpectedly, too, so they tend to throw their things in trash bags," said Theresa Mullen, Logan Square resident and co-founder of the Fotio photography company. "So people ask, 'Do they need this? Do they need that?' Well they do have those things, but what they don't have is luggage."

She and her husband, Nick Harvey, are no strangers to lending a helping hand, having spent months volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal. So, when they found they had some free time on their hands, they looked to find another way to help kids in need.

"It was kind of random," McMullen said of discovering the suitcase need for foster kids. "I think I was Googling like 'volunteer work you can do in your spare time' or something, and it just kind of came up."

She found that suitcase drives had been held in other states and decided to hold one here.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, McMullen and Harvey will collect suitcases in the parking lot next to the Family Dollar at 2260 N. Milwaukee Ave.

They encourage people to dig around and look for extra luggage they may have or, if they can, buy new suitcases to donate. The couple make a few suggestions for inexpensive models on their website, LuckyLuggage.com.

The suitcases will be divided between two area foster organizations, Children's Home and Aid and the Hephzibah Children's Association.

Though there is a continual need for suitcases, the two organizations only have space for about 50 suitcases apiece, so Harvey said they hope to collect about 100 suitcases at Sunday's drive and then perhaps hold another drive down the road.

"It's just something fast and easy you can do to help someone out," Harvey said.

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