Dominick Plourde, 9, Wales, with his mother, Amanda Plourde, and his brothers, Zachari, 6, and Madyx, 23 months. 

DIXFIELD — When Dominick Plourde, 9, Wales, was at his orthodontist office he saw a pamphlet for “It’s My Very Own Bags of Love” and he knew he that he wanted to make a donation to the group.

“I’m going toward my Junior Black Belt at Phoenix Karate Academy (in Auburn) and one of our requirements is a community service project. I decided to do mine on Bags of Love because (my family is) actually becoming foster parents fairly soon and I felt like they needed help,” Plourde said.

Plourde’s “really big (extended) family” helped him a lot along the way and his Dojo Karate family also contributed to the cause, he said. After collecting $572.55 in bottle refunds he went to the Dollar Store to purchase many of the items that Bags of Love told him were needed for the bags donated to foster children.

Besides the new toys, toothbrushes and toothpaste, coloring books and diapers, Plourde went to Marden’s and purchased four $50 gift certificates for the charity group to use to make their quilts which are lovingly placed in each bag.

“The gift cards really help because usually when we get donated fabric it is pieces (of fabric), so we have to work with the colors and the designs to put together a quilt, said Christine Penney, the originator of It’s My Very Own Bags of Love at Webb River Seventh Day Adventist School. Gift card contributions to the group help toward the purchase of the preferred quilt backing size of 48″ by 60″; “a good size for a lap quilt,” she said.

Helper Paul Michaud, age 90, sews together each fabric bag of the groups’ 10 categories of styles that are split up by the foster children’s age and gender. Then the rest of the helpers at the school place the lap quilts in the bag along with the items for the children from age birth to 17. After the bags are filled they are sent to DHHS in Lewiston.

“When a foster child is taken out of a home, especially if it’s a drug situation, they can’t (leave) with anything. The DHHS representative that goes to pick them up will bring the bag with them; the bag is a distraction from the trauma of being removed from their homes,” Penney said.

“God fills the need, whether it would be fabric, or a quilt or someone donating, like Dominick,” Penney said.

Items most needed to fill the bags are children’s training toothbrushes, wet wipes for the DHHS staff, hair brushes for girls, and diapers in sizes 2 or 3, Penney said.

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Dominick Plourde, 9, Wales, front, with charity group, It’s My Very Own Bags of Love. Behind Plourde are group members Christine Penney, Theresa Sweet, Cheryl Gallant, and Paul Michaud. Plourde collected $572.55 in bottle refund collections and donated the funds to the group in purchases for items to go to DHHS foster children. 


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