Crow Wing County employees took part in a backpack challenge to gather backpacks full of supplies for local foster care kids and teens.

A total of 186 backpacks were donated and filled with essential items such as toiletries, clothes, blankets and stuffed animals.

The children that are going to foster care often leave their homes in a hurry and have little or no time to gather belongings. A local community group that used to gather backpacks and donate to Crow Wing County was no longer able to continue to contribute.

Community Services staff challenged other departments to a friendly competition to see what team could gather the most backpacks.

“We had to find a new solution and we turned to our peers. We were absolutely amazed and humbled by the giving spirit of all of our staff. They not only embraced the challenge with open arms but opened their hearts to help the kids in our communities,” Community Services Director Kara Terry said in a news release.

Besides the filled backpacks, staff also collected $600, books and dozens of boxes of personal care items.

If you’d like to donate to the foster care backpack challenge, contact Family Services Supervisor Ronda Kline at 218-824-1150 or ronda.kline@crowwing.us

So far in 2019, 221 kids have been placed in foster care in Crow Wing County and there are currently 34 traditional licensed foster care homes and 37 relative foster homes. Foster parents provide a temporary home for children when they cannot remain in their own home. Care is given until their own parents can resume this responsibility or until a permanent plan is made with relatives or adoptive parents.

If you’re interested in learning more about the foster care program or in applying to become a foster parent, call 218-824-1140 or visit www.crowwing.us.