Benefitting youth: How Project Stuff Sack came to fruition

Posted On: Monday, 02 May 2022

Guest blog post by Trish Ward, 2021-2022 National Children & Youth Committee Chair
At ALA Girls Nation in July 2010, ALA Girls Nation senators brought items and assembled them into supplied backpacks, enabling the girls to understand the importance of supporting military families. 

In 2021, realizing we had the resources, we had the network, and we had plenty of hands on deck to do something similar, Project Stuff Sack was born. Thanks to Kristin Hinshaw and Madison Maves, ALA National Headquarters staff, we took this concept and submitted it for a Child Welfare grant. It was awarded in October 2021, and we got to work.

Sacks were designed, materials were discussed, and a plan was put in place. It was an exciting time to see Project Stuff Sack come to life. We maximized our grant resources and ordered as much material as possible, making sure to evenly distribute among our 52 ALA departments. A how-to sheet was developed to ensure that departments understood the project and their role in making a positive event happen. We utilized the team at the 2022 National Chairmen’s Meeting to help get everything ready to go, and then boxes were sent. We anxiously waited for feedback. 

One ALA department opted out due to lack of resources, but 51 other departments eagerly embraced the project and got to work getting an event planned. The project’s goal is to assist departments with facilitating a project to support children and youth, especially military children in their department. We worked to create clear direction so everyone was operating from the same source of truth and worked to provide clarity on how the event should launch.

It is rewarding to see many departments fully embracing Project Stuff Sack and getting events scheduled and started. A good idea goes a long way, and the simpler the better. How hard is it to get a sack, stuff it with fun items, and distribute it with a smile to children? 

It’s a project that ALA members can understand and a project that allows all who participated to share in a positive outcome on behalf of those we serve. Did you participate in Project Stuff Sack? We want to hear from you! Be sure to share your stories and pictures to the ALA National Children & Youth Committee

It’s time we use our collective energy to facilitate a positive experience for all members. We think Project Stuff Sack is an easy way to get members involved, make them feel valued, and most importantly, provide outreach to children and military kids in our community. 

Do you have an idea that would benefit the ALA mission? Submit for an ALA Foundation or Child Welfare grant and bring your idea to life! Great things happen when a few dedicated members are passionate about facilitating energy and excitement via hands-on projects. Our $3,300 grant will enable ALA members to facilitate outreach to children nationwide. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and most importantly, our kids.

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.