Deborah Williams is known as “the bag lady” by many youngsters at LSS children’s residential treatment centers. Most women would cringe at this title, but Debbie loves it. Since she started the ministry back in 2004, Debbie and her wonderful team of bag ladies have delivered over 1,300 welcome bags to needy kids across the state of Texas … and they aren’t slowing down!
The Bags of Hope ministry began when Debbie discovered a need at the New Life Children’s Center, a treatment home for abused and neglected girls (ages 11-17) in Canyon Lake. She noticed that children were being admitted to New Life with few possessions, and many only had a trash bag full of dirty clothes. Her heart broke when she thought of these precious young girls who had already been through so much. Debbie was determined to help make their first days at New Life warm and welcoming by providing them with some comforts of home.
The bags would take a small army to complete, so Debbie began enlisting volunteers from her church. They created handmade tote bags out of placemats and stuffed each tote with goodies. Each bag contained necessities like shampoo, lotion, and a toothbrush, as well as some fun things like pajamas, a stuffed animal, and journal.
As the Bags of Hope ministry grew, so did the need. Soon, the volunteers were providing bags not just for the girls at the New Life Center but also for more than 180 children at two other children’s homes: the Nelson Children’s Center in Denton, TX and the Krause Children’s Center in Katy, TX.
Now the Bags of Hope ministry has hundreds of volunteers in several churches across Texas, bringing hope to the abused and neglected. Debbie’s kind-heartedness and the determination that led her to start Bags of Hope have now landed her recognition as the Austin American-Statesman’s “Faith-based volunteer of the year” for 2010. We are so proud of Debbie and all the bag ladies for their tireless service. Thank you for bringing hope to the children we serve!