Boyds, MD., (01/28/21) – As a professional soccer franchise in the nation’s capital, the Washington Spirit is committed to making an impact on those around us. Since driving change is a collaborative effort, we’ve partnered with a number of incredible organizations to fully serve those in the community.
Now, we want to help you get to know these organizations. Today, our community spotlight will feature our friends at Comfort Cases.
When his abusive parents died at the age of 10, Comfort Cases Founder Rob Scheer thought he had just received the best gift he could have imagined. Then he entered into the foster care system. In many cases, children entering the foster care system are often removed from their homes with only the clothes they are wearing; the few personal effects they do have are stored in trash bags.
Scheer recalls how demoralizing it was carrying all his belongings in a trash bag. “I remember carrying a trash bag and feeling worthless, like nobody cared about me,” he said. When Scheer was looking to adopt from overseas, his husband, Reece, asked why the pair weren’t adopting locally through foster care.
Every day, 700 children enter the foster care system in the United States, which is about one child every two minutes, according to Comfort Cases. When the couple first welcomed their newly fostered children, brother and sister Amaya and Maka into their homes, the siblings entered with trash bags of their own. Scheer was struck by the fact that children still used trash bags to carry their personal belongings nearly 30 years after he had left the system.
As a successful business entrepreneur, Scheer, with the help of his family and community, decided in 2013 to found Comfort Cases, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating trash bags from the foster care system.
Comfort Cases believe that every child deserves to feel a sense of dignity. Every child deserves to pack their belongings in a special bag that they can call their very own. Every child deserves to have a cozy new pair of pajamas, a brand new warm blanket, and a new stuffed animal to hug during the traumatic transition into foster care.
The organization also provides information on what is included in each case and, through an instructional video, details how to appropriately pack a comfort case. The significance in the work Comfort Cares conducts also lies within providing neglected children a sense of promise and optimism.
“Many [children] have suffered abuse and neglect and have never been given new items of their own,” said Dana McKay, Director of Communications at Comfort Cases. “During the scary transition into foster care, Comfort Cases provide a sense of dignity and hope, as well as the necessities for their first night in foster care. Our Comfort XL program gives children a large duffel bag to pack up their belongings when they otherwise would have been given a trash bag.”
This off-season, the Spirit partnered with CVS Health and Aetna to provide Comfort Cases with 100 Boo Bags at Halloween and 100 bags of toiletries, stuffed animals and other essential items for the holidays.
The Spirit first became involved with Comfort Cases when owner Bill Lynch introduced the two parties. As a current board member and longtime friend of the Scheer family, Lynch was looking for a way to support Comfort Cases.
“The Spirit has leveraged their connections in the business community to bring generous donations to our organization,” McKay said. “The Spirit collaborated with CVS to provide toiletry kits for Comfort Cases as well as treat bags for children in foster care for Halloween. They also facilitated a generous donation from Sandy Spring Bank. In addition, the Spirit players, coaches, and owners have volunteered at our center and raised awareness about our mission through their social media channels.”
While Comfort Cases has given out more than 100,000 comfort cases and comfort XL since 2013, the organization is hoping to build upon that number to continue supporting underrepresented children in the foster care system. For fans of the Spirit, McKay indicated several ways in which to get involved with Comfort Cases.
“We would love to have Spirit fans volunteer at our center in Rockville, Maryland,” she said. “We have social distancing and health safety measures in place and we welcome small groups or individuals to sign up for a volunteer session at comfortcases.org/signup. Community members can also shop our Amazon Wish List at comfortcases.org/wishlist or donate at comfortcases.org/donate.”
Comfort Cases is also active on social media and love engaging with new followers. Interested parties can find them at @comfortcases on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn.