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Bags of Love

When Lane County children need help, our community steps up, and Bags of Love is a critical link in our chain of care. Supplying necessities and comfort items — delivered in cheerful, handmade fabric bags or sturdy duffel bags for older kids — the agency helps local children who are in crisis due to neglect, abuse, poverty, homelessness, or disaster. “Children who are displaced or entering foster care have immediate needs,” says Misty Hall, Bags of Love’s executive director. “We fill a unique niche for these kids’ immediate needs.”

Each brightly patterned bag contains a change or two of clothing, toiletries, age-appropriate books and toys, and a school supply kit. Every child also receives a stuffed animal and a blanket or quilt sewn by a local supporter. Those handmade comforts make a huge impact. Hall remembers, “One of our volunteers hired a high schooler to do some yard work, and it came up in conversation that she volunteered at Bags of Love. This 17-year-old boy said he’d received a bag when he was younger, and he still had the quilt! He always keeps it with him.”

Bags of Love receives referrals from over 115 agencies partners, including government offices, other non-profits, and local schools, and the requests have steadily grown since the organization's founding 15 years ago. And that need has grown exponentially since 2020. “Families on the cusp of financial security were dropped into insecurity by the pandemic,” Hall reflects. Bags of Love served over 4,600 children in 2022; as just one example, from September–December 2022, the Oakridge School District requested 250 bags, representing 70% of its lowest income students.

That’s why the unique spirit of this community matters. “There’s definitely a difference in Eugene, Springfield, and Lane County,” Hall observes. “I don’t know what our special Kool-Aid is, but when there’s a need or a call to action, we come together.” Over 60 volunteers work in the warehouse, and groups regularly come in to lend an extra hand or handle special projects. Others sew at home, making quilts, blankets, bibs, and burp cloths for infants. Local businesses also participate via coat drives, donation barrels, and monetary donations that help the agency bulk purchase toiletries and other items.  

So when Bags of Love went looking for a new trash and recycling company, going local with Apex was the clear choice. “We serve our community, so it feels good to support local businesses and put resources back into the community,” says Hall.

Apex’s clean and green values are also a perfect match for Bags of Love’s commitment to the environment. Hall says, “We have tons of boxes and plastic from buying wholesale toiletries — with our old hauler, we could never get enough recycling bins. When we switched to Apex, we asked how many recycling bins we could have, and they said, ‘how many do you want?’ And there’s no extra charge for more recycling. Now we have eight recycling bins and one garbage can!”

Apex’s reliable service allows Bags of Love to devote all of its time to the mission. Hall notes, “We don’t even notice the pickups, because they happen on schedule. There are no surprises or problems. Sometimes we get pallets; we call Apex to pick them up and it’s never an issue. Apex is economical, efficient, and accommodating.”

Here at Apex, we’re proud to serve Bags of Love, its hard-working volunteers, and the children in our community. We invite you to join us in supporting Bags of Love by making a monetary donation, donating new or gently used clothing, toys, or books, participating in Eugene’s annual Coats for Kids drive — or offering whatever time or resources you can to help care for the most vulnerable members of this special place we call home. Visit Bags of Love’s website to get involved.

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