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Project Never Again strives to bring dignity to foster kids

The nonprofit has helped 12,000 foster children move with dignity by giving them free duffel bags.

HILLSBORO, Ore. — Five thousand duffle bags have been donated to foster kids by Project Never Again. The organization focuses on what they call "dignity through duffels." This means making sure that kids and teens in foster care aren't left with only boxes or trash bags for their belongings.

When kids move homes, Project Never Again makes sure they are equipped to move with dignity.

"The feeling of carrying trash bags or boxes is not only humiliating, it's essentially adding insult to injury," explains Seema Steffany, the founder and president of Project Never Again.

RELATED: Young people leaving foster care struggle to stay off the streets

Steffany is a product of the foster care system, and has firsthand experience with moving from home to home.

"Moving into a foster home you really don't know where you're headed," Steffany said. "So really, handing a kid a trash bag is really saying, 'You are garbage.'"

Inside the bags that Project Never Again donates are journals, a luggage tag and a note of courage.

RELATED: Young people leaving foster care struggle to stay off the streets

The project's mission is to get a duffel bag into the hands of every foster child, and prevent children's belongings from ending up in trash bags in the first place.

The nonprofit was founded in 2017 and is based in Washington County.

"We started with 500 bags and now we have 5,000," said Steffany. "In total we have served 12,000 children."

The organization works alongside state agencies to distribute bags to youth all over Oregon.

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