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UML seeks donations for children in foster care

By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online. MICHAEL LAFLEUR

LOWELL- The University of Massachusetts Lowell Psychology Club is seeking donations of clothing, toiletries, books, toys and other items that will be used in "Welcome Packs" for children and teens who are entering state foster care.

"They literally are sometimes pulled out of a home with nothing," UMass Lowell psychology professor Charlotte Mandell said of foster children. "Then they're coming to a foster home that may not be expecting them."

"Welcome Packs" are backpacks filled with items like underwear, pajamas, socks, a T-shirt and pants, toiletries, books and school supplies and a toy or stuffed animal.

The backpacks are filled to serve various age groups and both genders for example, sweatpants are included in teenagers' packs.

The effort, now in its third year, was responsible for donating 150 "Welcome Packs" to the state Department of Social Services' Lowell office last year, up from around 50 the year before. This year, Mandell said she hopes to put together about 180 packs.

Psychology Club volunteers are in the most need of clothing for teens and the backpacks themselves. Financial donations are also accepted.

All clothing and other supplies should be taken to the Psychology Department office, Room 110 in Mahoney Hall, off Broadway Street on the university's South Campus.

No food will be accepted.

Items can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The drive will run until May 3, when all of the "Welcome Packs" will be presented to DSS.