Project says provides ‘hope’ for 16K abused, neglected kids
ROGERS, N.D. (AP) — Project Ignite Light, which provides backpacks filled with basic but useful items to abused or neglected children entering the social services system, has helped more than 16,000 children North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota since its launch in 2008, group representatives say.
Pebbles Thompson, Project Ignite Light founder, said it was more than 10 years ago that she recognized the need to provide support for children in abuse and neglect situations.
“What we do is serve children of extreme child abuse when they’re brought into their local child advocacy center, which is strategically placed in the largest cities of every state,” Thompson said. “When a child is brought in for a forensic exam or an interview to determine the extent of abuse that they’ve suffered, we provide that child with a backpack on the off-chance this child isn’t going to be returning home. We wanted to make sure they had everything they needed.”
Thompson said these backpacks, called “Bags of Hope”, include fleece tie blankets, pajamas, toothbrushes, books, flashlights, shampoo and other items, KOVC-AM reported.
The nonprofit swiftly grew after word of the program spread around North Dakota, where there were 3,982 reports of child abuse and neglect in 2017.
Amanda Geisler, Vice President of Growth and Development, said the group has been able to serve more than 16,000 children so far because other organizations and communities have backed them up.
“We couldn’t do this without the support of the communities, of churches, local businesses and individual donors,” Geisler said. “We just turned 11, and so our nonprofits started in the Fargo area. We’re just grown over the year. Currently, we’re serving a few hundred children each month.”
Costs are always rising, so it’s important that organizations continue to help, Thompson noted.
First Community Credit Union in Rogers is currently holding a pajama fundraiser for Project Ignite Light. People are encouraged to contribute new, two-piece pajamas in sizes newborn through 18 years of age.
“We have found that when people come together that, really, it’s affordable. It’s possible and it’s doable. So often we say we don’t know what to do when we see somebody hurting, but doing nothing is not an option,” Thompson said. “When we come together, we are able to do something that’s profound. It’s almost like a first responder situation.
Information from: KOVC-AM, http://www.newsdakota.com