KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Job staffing services company Express Employment Professionals is taking time to give back this Christmas season. The company recently raised $10,000 to benefit the My BELONGings program, a charitable foundation that helps children who have entered into the foster care system.

Express Employment Professionals is stuffing duffle bags with carefully selected items for children and teens waiting for foster families at Isaiah 117 House in Knox County.

Between the pandemic and the opioid epidemic, the need has never been greater.

“This is everything,” said a grateful Kristi Whitehead of Isaiah House. “To give them an actual bag gives them so much more than just physical items. It gives them dignity.”

“We’ve had so many children who have entered into custody recently who have nothing, or who have a trash bag full of belongings; some of them not even in season.”

It’s more than brushes, shampoo and pajamas.

“The bag is then packed with all of this stuff and it’s actually tangible to give to the kids,” said Angie Myers, Express branch manager of the Clinton office, with tears in her eyes. “I can’t help it. It’s a sense of having something.”

Having something from someone who cares.