Craft For A Cause: Hope In A Suitcase

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Hope In A Suitcase gives, “tangible hope to foster children.” As a crafty person there are a variety of ways your creativity can support this wonderful organization.

For years I have heard about how many foster children transport their belongings in trash bags as they are brought to a new home. And frankly, I wasn’t sure how to help.

Hope In A Suitcase is the answer for children in Los Angeles. Their mission is to, “provide children and teens in foster care with a suitcase and the essentials they need to make their transition to the foster care system just a little easier.”

The organization has a wish list of items they need for each suitcase. Some are items you can purchase and donate, but they also welcome appropriate handmade items. This is where Create To Donate comes in!

Get Crafty For Hope In A Suitcase

So I contacted the Hope In A Suitcase team to learn more about the types of handmade items that are most suitable for their current needs. After some wonderful exchanges, I learned they would love the following: handwritten notes, hair accessories, and toiletry bags.

Handwritten Notes

Handwritten notes will never go out of style! The foster children who benefit from Hope In A Suitcase would love a handwritten notes with a nice picture/illustration/decoration. Write a whole note of encouragement or, if you get hit with writer’s block, just send a simple note with something like:

  • You are beautiful.
  • You are strong.
  • You are special.
  • You are loved.

Quite frankly, why not just combine all four of the above? If you’re looking for a fun new project, try making an inspirational card with a Dollar Store lei.

Hair Accessories

For those of you looking for the next step to test your “craft for a cause” skills, Hope In A Suitcase also needs hair accessories.

Why not make a felt bow and attach it to a hair clip or headband (hello again Dollar Store!) or use up some of your fold over elastic to make some simple elastic hair ties?

I am going to make some felt bows and simple hair ties and attach them to a decorated 3 x 5 card using one of the simple messages from above. I think that will add a nice touch and each part of the gift can be saved as a reminder that someone is thinking of them.

Toiletry Bags

The first two items are all-ages thing because they are something a child of any age would appreciate. While this last item, a toiletry bag, may be something that isn’t always age-specific, it is something Hope In A Suitcase needs most for their tween and teenage population.

They are used to put all of the necessities for tween and teenage boys and girls. As if going through all of the changes that happen at that age aren’t already to wreak havoc on a child’s psyche? Imagine going through them without a trusted support system. So while a toiletry bag may not be able to dispense helpful advice, it can show foster children that someone cares.

Hope In A Suitcase Vinyl Toiletry Bag ExampleIn discussing the idea further, Marsha explained that it could be as simple as buying a large vinyl toiletry bag (pictured left) and decorating it in some way.

I wanted to go a little bit bigger, however, and make it really unique while also using up some of the great fabrics that I have in my stash and work on my zipper skills.

I even created a tutorial on how to make a simple toiletry bag to give you an idea on something that would be fun for the kids.

Ideally, Hope In A Suitcase would receive a finished toiletry bag that includes a handwritten note and is filled with the following:

  • new toothbrush
  • new toothpaste
  • hairbrush
  • hair accessories
  • deodorant
  • lotion
  • feminine hygiene products
  • lip balm
What Hope In A Suitcase Doesn’t Currently Need

It is important to note that there are some things on Hope In A Suitcase’s main wish list that they don’t currently need: blankets, baby caps, or booties.

Where To Send Donations

Please send donations to:

Hope in a Suitcase
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 927
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210


Make Crafting For A Cause A Family Affair

The beauty of crafting for a cause is that not all parts of creating something require crafty skills. If you want to make this a family project, for example, you can take your kids with you to shop for the items to fill the bags you make and then physically fill the bags once they’re ready. The kids (depending on their ages) could also write a handwritten note and Hope In A Suitcase recipients would open the toiletry kit to a bunch of notes of just for them.

When you make something for Hope In A Suitcase after reading this post, please connect with me on Instagram (@goodsgivingback) and tag your post #create2donateHIAS so that I can repost your wonderful creations on the Goods Giving Back FB page and the IG feed.

Happy Crafting!


If you are looking for some additional sewing projects that you could do to give back to the community, check out the Craft For A Cause Pinterest Board.