(St. Charles, Illinois) December 21, 2018—In its fourth annual Luggage of Love fundraiser, supported by dozens of generous clients and friends, Apex CPAs & Consultants raised over $22,000 to provide gift-packed suitcases to Kane County children entering foster care.
Apex managing partner James Chakires, who founded the Luggage of Love campaign in 2015, presented the donations to Gloria Kelley, CASA Kane County executive director, at a recent reception at the Apex offices in St. Charles.
The donations included a collection of suitcases already packed with items such as blankets, toiletries, clothing and books, along with cash to purchase more. Each Luggage of Love packed suitcase costs around $250. The need is great, as Kane County has around 600 children in foster care at any given point in time, with about 200 new children entering the system each year.
Anyone who sees the hit movie “Instant Family,” which came out in November, will be touched by the scene in which three siblings are moved to yet another foster home, carrying their belongings in black trash bags. When one little boy unpacks his bag, the first-time foster mom sees numerous stuffed bears and nothing else. “The kids get a bear each time we go to family court,” the oldest child explains.
“Can you imagine being in that situation? These children are removed from their homes through no fault of their own, sometimes due to abuse or neglect and other times due to a parent’s death or illness. These children are already traumatized, and now they have to leave behind everything and everyone they know, typically carrying just some clothing and a few personal items in a plastic garbage bag. That is why I feel Luggage of Love is such a worthy cause,” remarked Jim Chakires, who serves on the Chairman’s Advisory Panel for CASA. “By giving a child a new piece of luggage to protect their precious belongings, we give them a booster shot of dignity and hope.”
“We can’t thank Jim and Jessie Chakires enough, along with their staff, clients, and friends who donated to the Luggage of Love campaign, for their generous outpouring of support,” said Gloria Kelley, Executive Director of CASA Kane County. “These seemingly simple items are so meaningful to the children and really make them feel valued and loved. After what they have been through, their confidence and trust need to be built back up. This is a great way to show them that there are people who care about them.”
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASAs are all volunteers from the community who, as the name suggests, advocate for the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Whereas DCFS social workers must often handle 20 or more cases at a time, a CASA volunteer is responsible for just one case at a time. A CASA ensures that each individual child’s needs are heard and addressed throughout various court hearings and moves from one residence to another. Being able to give a child a suitcase full of gifts is one small way a CASA can help ease a child’s transition into foster care.
About Apex CPAs & Consultants, Inc.
Apex CPAs & Consultants, Inc., is an innovative accounting, advisory and tax services firm focused on the overall well-being of growth-minded organizations. A member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society, Apex undergoes a voluntary peer review every three years and has received the highest rating issued under the program since the firm’s inception. For more information, visit https://www.apexcpas.com/.
About CASA Kane County
CASA Kane County is a nonprofit organization that prevents children from falling through the cracks of the child welfare system. This is done by providing each child with the voice of a well-trained volunteer advocate. For more information, visit http://www.casakanecounty.org/.About Apex