Project Fresh Start still seeking donations

Published 2:17 pm Thursday, January 14, 2016

Organizers are still seeking donations for a new program in Chilton County geared toward preventing child abuse.

Project Fresh Start seeks to bring hope to children who have been victims of abuse with a bag full of different items that helps “restore their faith in people, courage to overcome their trauma, and give them a sense of hope for a healthier future.”

Organizer Katrina Hubbard said the organization is hoping to make more than 1,000 bags to distribute to children in different age groups including newborn-4, 5-11 and 12-17.

“We are still receiving items from different organizations of items to go in the bags,” Hubbard said. “We are welcoming more donations so we can complete the bags.”

The program initially launched in October 2015, and donations are being housed at Jemison Municipal Complex.

Items placed in the bags for the newborn-4 bags will include storybooks, Teddy bears, blankets, coloring books, crayons, stickers, hygiene kits and a Bible.

Similar items are placed in the 5-11 bags, but a blue ribbon bracelet, a journal with a pen or pencil and socks are added.

In the 12-17 bags, two journals are included with the addition of the other items.

“When a child has gone through a traumatic situation, they can receive a bag with items that shows that there is someone out there who cares,” Hubbard said.

Local law enforcement agencies are partnering with Hubbard to support the program, and will have bags on hand.

“The law enforcement agencies will have bags within their departments to hand out to children they come into contact with,” Hubbard said. “We will also have the Fresh Start bags available to hand out to children who have been abused at Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.

Chilton County Sheriff’s Department, Clanton Police Department, Thorsby Police Department, Jemison Police Department and Maplesville Police Department are all partnering with Project Fresh Start.

Once the bags are completed, the majority of the bags will be stored at Butterfly Bridge, but law enforcement officials throughout the county will have bags in their vehicles or offices to hand out.

Hubbard is accepting donations for the bags from schools, churches, local businesses, doctor and dentist offices and members of the community.

“We have heard from some of the schools that they are taking donations up for the bags,” Hubbard said. “We decided to extend our deadline to create the bags because we want every bag to have as many items as we can get.”

Hubbard said a list of items the program still needs is updated frequently on the group’s Facebook page.

“Right now, we still need journals and blankets,” Hubbard said. “We have just been really amazed at the response we have gotten from so many people.”

Hubbard said if individuals have any questions about donating items to message her on Project Fresh Start’s Facebook page or call (205) 299-4798.