Sophomore Matthew Howard creates “Bags Of Care”

What started as a Boy Scout Eagle Project, transpires into much more

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Matthew Howard has been working to support foster children through his organization Bags of Care. The sophomore created the organization for his Eagle Scout Service Project, and he has helped provide essential items to several foster families in the area.

Howard has been involved in the Boy Scouts of America since the first grade. When he needed to complete his project, he gained inspiration from his father. 

“My dad and his family used to hold foster children, take care of them, and so when he told me about that, it inspired me because I was looking for ideas, and I thought that would be perfect,” Howard said.

Howard started Bags of Care earlier this year with the support of his family, friends and troop. To raise money for his organization, he created a GoFundMe page, which, to his surprise, performed very well.

“I freaked out because I did not expect it to be that successful, and I thought that I would get more donations through items rather than money,” Howard said. “When I saw that it was up to $4,000, I freaked out. It made me really excited that I could make an impact.”

Howard ended up raising a total of $5,000, which he used to purchase the various items that would go into the bags. He was able to create 96 of the bags, with items ranging from blankets and stuffed animals to toiletries and books. Howard held an event to put together the bags at the Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, and he was pleasantly surprised by its turnout.

“I didn’t think I was gonna get that many people because I had gone to other people’s Eagle projects and there weren’t a lot of people there, so when I was there and I saw there were 40 people, I freaked out a little bit,” Howard said.

After the bags were put together, they were donated to the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, who held an event distributing the bags to various foster families. He hopes to continue the organization through his high school years.

“My sister and I are gonna pick it back up this year going into next year, and then I’m gonna do it for the rest of the years I’m in high school and try and hand it off to someone else when I graduate,” Howard said.

For Howard this is special; he gets to see firsthand the impact his organization has made in the lives of many children and families. He wants children within the foster system to know that their lives are important, and he hopes that these bags can give them possessions they can value. 

Howard said, “I think it changed me as a person, and it helped me see different sides of life because I was raised in a home with two parents when I can see these kids that are going through a lot and see the impact that it has on their lives.”