Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly do you do at My Stuff Bags Foundation?
The My Stuff Bags Foundation provides duffels of new belongings to children arriving at crisis shelters with little or nothing of their own. The children we serve have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and are entering foster care or are with their mothers in a battered women’s shelter or are homeless. They often must leave home quickly and can’t take their “stuff” with them. Rescuing agencies do not have the resources to consistently provide something as basic as a toothbrush or as comforting as a teddy bear. We fill that gap with My Stuff Bags, which are provided to our Partner Agencies free of charge.
My Stuff Bags Foundation is a national non-profit serving children in all 50 states. Since 1998 we have distributed My Stuff Bags to over 505,000 children through over 1,500 agency partners. We have a very small staff and rely on volunteer labor and donations of children’s items and funding.
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Tax I.D. #: 95-4671812
What is a My Stuff Bag?
A My Stuff Bag is a cute, individual duffel filled with new childhood essentials that are theirs to keep, such as clothing, toys, a stuffed animal, school supplies, toiletries, and most importantly, a warm “security” blanket. Most of the blankets are handmade from people all across the country. Most items for the children are donated by caring people all across the country.
Can you give me examples of things I can donate?
Sure! A lot of people donate fleece blankets that are easy to make – in fact, we provide instructions on how to make them here. Other than that, we love to receive dolls, teddy bears, playing cards, coloring books, markers, crayons, coloring pencils, t-shirts, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. We’re not very picky – as long as it’s new, is something a child aged 0-18 would like, and does not contain anything inappropriate, we’ll take it!
Can I donate used items to My Stuff Bags if they’re in excellent condition?
No, items in a My Stuff Bag must be NEW! We feel that foster children have encountered enough adversity and need to be reassured that they are deserving of the comfort of new items.
Do you differentiate the bags by age?
Yes, we do! The categories of bags are:
- Baby Boy/Girl: 0-2 years of age
- Young Child Boy/Girl: 3-6 years of age
- Child Boy/Girl: 7-11 years of age
- Tween Teen Boy/Girl: 12-18 years of age
Who can apply for My Stuff Bags?
Any non-profit agency serving abused and neglected, abandoned, homeless, or displaced children is eligible to apply. These include: State and County Child and Family Services, Foster Care Agencies, Crisis Shelters, Battered Women and Children Shelters, Homeless Shelters, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocated) agencies and Law Enforcement agencies.
I work for an agency that meets the requirements to receive My Stuff Bags. How do I apply for My Stuff Bags?
Follow these simple instructions:
- On our website, click on our Crisis Shelter Resources tab
- Click on the Application and Terms and Conditions Agreement, fill it out, and return it to us for consideration
- Email to email@example.com
- Fax to 818-865-3865
- Mail to My Stuff Bags Foundation, 5347 Sterling Center Drive, Westlake Village, CA 91361 to the attention of Gail Rosenberg
Can I make a cash donation? How do I do that?
Yes! In fact, donations of funds are always needed and are tax-deductible. My Stuff Bags Foundation needs cash donations to run the program and ship bags to waiting children. Donations can be made by check (sent to address given above) or by visiting this page. We can also assist with a credit card donation over the phone.
In what ways can I volunteer for My Stuff Bags Foundation?
There are two ways to support the My Stuff Bags Foundation through volunteering:
- Collect and send or bring new items for children age 0 to 18. Items must be new, non-denominational, and non-edible. We strongly encourage all types of collections – individual, family, and friends, or at your church, school, or community organization. Blanket making is a great volunteer opportunity, and one that you can do from the comfort of your home and with your friends and family! Visit our “How to Help” tab on the Homepage of our website for item ideas and easy, fleece no-sew blanket instructions.
- Physically volunteer at My Stuff Bags Foundation. Our hours are Monday-Thursday from 9:30 am to noon, however special arrangements can be made for those who can only volunteer in the afternoon. All volunteer visits must be scheduled. Volunteers must be 10 years or older, and children ages 10-14 must be accompanies by an adult.
What types of activities will I do when I come to volunteer at My Stuff Bags Foundation?
There are a variety of different things you might do! These can include:
- Stuffing bags
- Stuffing toiletry kits
- Making name tags
- Making blankets and hair ties
- Sorting toys
- Unpacking and/or repacking inventory
I’m a student. Can you sign my volunteer form for community service hours for school?
Yes, we can! If your school allows you to make blankets for us and earn service hours, we can sign off on the number of blankets you donate as well. Your school must determine the number of hours you would earn through making blankets.
Where can I ship or drop off donations?
All donations need to be dropped off or shipped to the foundation:
5347 Sterling Center Drive
Westlake Village, CA 91361
Drop-offs need to be done between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Thursday
How can I help if I live out of state?
You can make either a cash or item donation! We encourage you to do a collection in your community, school, church, etc. – you can make fleece blankets, or collect other “stuff” to send to us! Additionally, you can spread the word about us via your Facebook and other social media pages. If younger children want to get involved, they can earn funds by having a lemonade stand or a craft/bake sale.
How much of my donation is used for administrative (or operating) costs? What percentage of my donation actually goes to benefit the cause directly?
Per our yearly audited financials, 90% of all revenue goes directly to the My Stuff Bags program.
Where can I see your financial information (audited financials, 990) online?
You will find this information under the Our Accountability tab.
How do you know that My Stuff Bags Foundation is actually effective?
Our effectiveness is measured in various ways:
- As part of our Terms & Conditions agreement with our Partner Agencies, the Agencies agree to complete a “Recipient Information Report” detailing the number of bags they have distributed and the impact the bags have on the children. They are asked to report on how receiving the My Stuff Bags helps them to better meet the physical and psychological needs of the despairing children.
- The response letters we receive as part of the required feedback is further affirmation of the unfiltered excitement displayed by the children receiving their very own blue duffle with new belongings they get to keep.
- We continue to get requests from across the nation for bags and confirmation that the bags are truly filling an unmet need for children in crisis.