Alan and YES need the community's help to create these comfort bags. Items for “Luggage of Love” can be dropped off at the YES office in Yreka at 700 S. Main St., Suite 4 or at the Weed Community Center at 161 E. Lincoln Ave.

Weed High School Senior Alan Yerena wants to make sure foster children undergoing difficult transitions have “comfort bags” in which to move their belongings.

Yerena partnered with the Siskiyou County nonprofit Youth Empowerment Siskiyou, better known as YES, to launch “Luggage of Love.”

Abused and neglected children who have been brought into foster care in Siskiyou County are often moved between foster homes with little to no notice, according to a press release about the fledgling program. An already traumatic situation is made more difficult for children who have little clothing, stuffed animals or other items to call their own. Worst yet, what items foster children do own are often transported between homes in trash bags.

Yerena wants to change that by providing foster children in transition with comfort bags, containing items specifically chosen to be useful and comforting, such as pillows, stuffed animals, blankets and toothbrushes. Each bag is specifically created for the age and gender of the child.

“These bags give a sense of dignity and hope,” the press release states. “They are the foster child’s to keep. No more carrying personal belongings in garbage bags.”

Alan and YES need the community’s help to create these comfort bags. Items for “Luggage of Love” can be dropped off at the YES office in Yreka at 700 S. Main St., Suite 4 or at the Weed Community Center at 161 E. Lincoln Ave.

Needed items include: a pillow with a case, blanket, flashlight, stuffed animal, duffel bag, large tote bag and an “essential items bag” full of toiletries.

Inspired by Yerena’s project, other community members are joining the effort. On Feb. 28 at 6 p.m., Zumba teacher Carola Paicil is hosting a “Zumbathon” at the Weed Community Center located at 161 E. Lincoln Ave. To participate, bring a monetary donation or comfort bag items to be donated. All proceeds will go to making as many comfort bags as possible.

YES is also hosting its third annual Monte Carlo Night on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Weed Community Center from 7 to 11 p.m. All proceeds from the Roaring 20s-themed night of gaming, raffle and entertainment will benefit local trauma-exposed youth. More details and tickets can be found online at YESiskiyou.org or by calling YES at (530) 841-0844.

Donations in support of “Luggage of Love” can be made online at YESiskiyou.org, or by mailing a check to Youth Empowerment Siskiyou at P.O. Box 1337, Yreka.