When Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano first learned about the Luggage of Love program, he committed to helping meet its goal of providing displaced children and families with new and/or gently used suitcases.
Luggage of Love is a coordinated effort in Pasco County by the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Pasco County Extension Office.
In the past, children who often travel with caseworkers into foster care, or are otherwise removed from their homes due to emergency situations, have had just a plastic garbage bag for carrying their clothing and personal belongings.
The luggage program adds a measure of dignity to a child who is most likely experiencing one of the most traumatic events in his or her young life.
In other cases, single mothers, often escaping domestic violence, are the recipients of the luggage for themselves and their children.
The Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office staff members recently were able to make two luggage deliveries, as well as a cash donation of $500 to the program to use as needed.
Elizabeth Urquiola, program coordinator for the UF/IFAS Pasco County Extension Office and Luggage of Love program, said the money will be used for more luggage tags and a better logo stamp that also are provided.
“It is heartbreaking to think that a child or a mother in distress may only have plastic garbage bags which they use to carry their belongings,” said Fasano, in a news release.
He added, “I am so proud of our staff who rose to the occasion and donated everything from suitcases to duffle bags and backpacks for this incredible charity.”
To learn more about the Luggage of Love program, call Elizabeth Urquiola at (352) 521-1254, ext. 5325.
To donate luggage and for information, call Greg Giordano, assistant tax collector, at (727) 847-8179.
Published February 05, 2020