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Carrying Through

Eagle Scout eases foster children’s emotional baggage with gifts of duffel bags

When Hunter Beaton’s parents adopted three foster children, he was proud to gain three younger siblings but troubled by what they brought with them from the foster home.

“They had all their possessions in a black trash bag,” Beaton said. “How awful is that?”

So when it came time to plan a community service project to become an Eagle Scout, the Boerne High School freshman knew what he wanted to do. He didn’t know how big it would become.

“I decided to find a way to say, ‘No, no kid deserves this,’ ” he said.

With the help of his church, community and parents, who are members of Bandera Electric Cooperative, Beaton raised $10,000 and filled 100 duffel bags to give to Texas foster kids. He reached his goal, but requests for bags didn’t stop.

Almost 20,000 bags and two years later, Beaton’s Day 1 Bag initiative has spread to all of Texas with the help of a state Senate proclamation—and beyond. He has teamed up with nonprofits One Simple Wish and Comfort Cases to keep the bags going even as he gears up for college, where he hopes to get more involved in public service.

“I just want to help people,” he said.

Did You Know?

Children and adolescents with foster care experience are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at twice the rate of U.S. war veterans, according to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children.