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Local woman organizes donation drive for Borrowed Hearts; wants children to have duffel bags to pack clothes in

April 2, 2022 | 12:08 am

Updated April 1, 2022 | 10:45 pm

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Tiffany Abbott knows what it’s like to be in the foster care system. So when her 42nd birthday rolled around this year, she knew wanted to give back to kids who were just like her. Many kids in foster care have to pack their clothes and personal items in garbage bags when they move from home to home in the system. 

“As a former foster kid, I can honestly say, when someone hands you a trash bag or grocery bag to pack your stuff, it feels like, well, trash,” Abbott said. “No kid deserves to feel that way. Especially one whose whole world has been flipped upside down.”

Abbott first went into foster care when she was 8 years old.

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“I can honestly say it was the scariest, most confusing, heart-wrenching event I have ever experienced,” she said. “At that age you know where you belong. You know kids live with their mom and dad. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of not belonging. Even though I was blessed to be with an amazing family, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was an outsider.”

Eventually, she got to go back home, but she had to take all of her belongings in used grocery bags. 

After that, she spent some time in kinship care with several different family members, another foster home, and group homes. 

“Every single time, at the end of my stay, I packed the same way,” Abbott said. 

So she asked for help, from family and friends, to collect 42 duffel bags to donate to Borrowed Hearts of Owensboro. She reached her goal in three days and doesn’t plan on stopping. 

Borrowed Hearts is a hand-in-hand mission to children and families in foster care. They provide clothing, hygiene products, toys, support, and “love to those in such a vulnerable situation.” 

While Abbott said she was excited to donate the bags to the organization, she said she wishes it weren’t necessary. 

“I’ve always wanted to be of service to these kids,” she said. “I have a soft spot for these kiddos, whose whole lives get flipped upside down, by no choice of their own. I’ve worked with kids in a group home setting, schools, and most recently as a Family Support Specialist. I love the work I do, but I wanted to give something tangible.” 

Abbott said her son was her biggest inspiration for this project. 

“He gets an idea in his head to help people, and he always puts it to action,” she said. “Most recently he raised over $700 for his school resource center. I thought to myself, if my 11-year old can make things like this happen … so can I.”

Next year she hopes to double her age – meaning she wants to collect 86 bags. 

At first, Abbott wasn’t sure how she was going to get the bags to kids in care, until a friend told her about Borrowed Hearts Owensboro and the amazing things they do for foster families. 

Abbott said along with the duffle bags, she was able to purchase journals, crayons, pens, and coloring books to give with the bags. 

“Sometimes drawing and writing can be very therapeutic, and I wanted these kids to have a way to express the big feelings they may be experiencing,” she said. “I’m super excited to continue doing this and hopefully be able to make it bigger and better each year.”

April 2, 2022 | 12:08 am

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