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The past year has really made me think a lot about giving back to my community, and I’ve been looking for new ways to help those in need.

That’s why I was so verklempt to read about one celebrity who has been giving back in a deeply personal and meaningful way.

Grammy-winning comedienne Tiffany Haddish and her four younger siblings went into the American foster care system when she was just 12 years old.

As she told David Letterman:

“You’re dropped in these strangers’ houses, you don’t know these people, these people don’t know you, you don’t know if they’re gonna hurt you, if they’re gonna be kind, you don’t have a clue what’s going on.”

What always stuck with Haddish about making the foster care experience extra difficult was that when children are moved from home to home, they’re handed a garbage back to pack up their things.

It made her feel like garbage.

And then one day, in a small way, someone made a huge difference in her life.

Instead of a garbage bag, they gave her a suitcase. Now Haddish felt:

“Like I had a purpose, like I’m a person like I’m not garbage, I got this — it’s mine, and my things are in here, and wherever I go I can take this with me and I’m going somewhere.”

For years, Haddish had encouraged her fans to bring suitcases to her shows and donate them to foster children, including the Beech Brooke organization of Cleveland, Ohio:

And The Villages of Indiana:

These are just some of the over 95 suitcases donated from last week’s Tiffany Haddish show in Bloomington. The…

Posted by The Villages – Foster Care, Adoption, & Family Services on Friday, October 4, 2019

After watching her interview with Letterman on Netflix last fall, a foster care specialist from from Lake County, Indiana, Shanell Manuel took note:

Haddish’s point about garbage bags struck a chord with Manuel, who had herself been bothered by the same thing.

As Distractify reported:

“She reached out to Tiffany’s She Ready Foundation, whose mission is to “protect, provide resources, and ensure normalcy for foster children.”

Once again, Haddish came through with 100 suitcases for Indiana foster kids last Christmas.

And her work has inspired other organizations to do suitcase drives in their communities too.

But she’s not finished yet.

As Black Enterprise recently reported, Haddish’s She Ready Foundation has got a new project to help kids who age out of the foster system start careers in the entertainment industry:

The program is supported by Tiffany Haddish’s She Ready Foundation and Ready To Succeed, a Career Accelerator for foster youth, who will provide training, mentorship and ongoing support.”

It’s truly amazing to see someone so dedicated to helping out such a deserving and under-served demographic.

What do you think about the suitcase challenge? Let us know in the comments!


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