QUITMAN -- Brooks County High School Future Career and Community Leaders of America CARES.

That's what the tags say on the more than 70 drawstring bags the club made and donated to the Department of Family and Children's Services Thursday. The bags, which were presented to DFACS on Thursday, will be used by those children who enter the system.

For the past month, Brooks County High School students have worked on community service projects by making and decorating the bags.

"Often the children don't have suitcases or anything to put their belongings in," said Karen Stone, one of the club advisers for FCCLA. That's how the Future Careers and Community Leaders of America club decided to work on them. They also thought it would be a good idea to use this project to compete in the Students Taking Action with Recognition competition that was held in Berrien County this weekend. They won second place at the event and will advance to the state level in April. It was the club's first time competing in the event. In order for the club to compete, the project must be a worthwhile contribution to families, schools, communities and family consumer science courses.

Along with the club members, other students in the family consumer science classes also made bags. The total time for making one bag was about 45 minutes, not counting decorating. The club members also donated boxes of toiletry items, which they plan on continuing periodically.

"We're very appreciative of the bags," said Sabrina Wiard, a DFACS social services case manager. "These bags will help them have something of their own to put their belongings in."

The students have had fun making and decorating the bags.

"[It taught me that] if I wanted to and put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything," Rebecca Hall said. She estimated that she sewed about 15 bags.

To contact reporter Marie Arrington, please call 244-3400, ext. 254.

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