FBI in Oregon Honors Bags of Love Charity with Leadership Award
In February 2019, the FBI presented Bags of Love, Inc. with the Director’s Community Leadership Award in recognition of the many years of service the non-profit has given to thousands of Oregon’s most vulnerable children.
Bags of Love, based in Lane County, works with more than 50 partner agencies to distribute bags of needed supplies and comfort items to children living in crisis due to neglect, abuse, poverty, or homelessness. The partner agencies include other regional non-profits, government agencies, and school districts that provide direct services to children.
In 2018, Bags of Love distributed about 2,200 bags, and they are on track to deliver 2,400 this year. Since its humble beginnings in a spare bedroom of the founder’s home in 2008 to its current large warehouse, Bags of Love has distributed more than 14,000 bags to Oregon children.
When all else is taken from them, the recipients can hang on to their new “security blanket”—a handmade quilt. In addition, each bag includes gender-appropriate and age-appropriate necessities, including one or two outfits, a jacket or coat, socks and underwear, and school supplies. Each child also receives a stuffed animal, toiletries and books, toys or games.
“We are truly honored to be receiving the Director’s Community Leadership Award from the FBI. This award is such a wonderful acknowledgement of not just the work being done at Bags of Love, but also a recognition of our dedicated staff and volunteers and the community who supports us. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the FBI to further assist children and teens who are at risk or in crisis,” said Becky Stenzel, Executive Director of Bags of Love.
Volunteers donate more than 13,000 hours a year to this amazing effort, and the work they do significantly impacts the children they serve.
“It is an honor for the FBI to partner with Bags of Love over the course of many years. On a regular basis, we are passing their donations to human trafficking survivors, kids affected by child sex abuse and child sex tourism cases, victims of international parental kidnapping, and more,’” said Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “These bags allow the donors and volunteers to give a child dignity while giving law enforcement officers a chance to building trust with those most impacted by trauma.”
In early May, Ms. Stenzel will travel to Washington, D.C., to officially receive this award on behalf of Bags of Love from FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Every year, each of the FBI’s 56 field divisions chooses one person or organization to receive the Director’s Community Leadership Award. Each recipient must have shown a commitment to crime prevention or community service.
You can find out more about Bags of Love on its webpage at http://bagsofloveinc.org/.
Annette Brieske, Warehouse Manager (left), and Becky Stenzel, Executive Director (right)
Samples of the handmade bags and duffels that are given to children and teens
LaDonna Brown, Sewing coordinator (right) with volunteers
Diane Cougill, Volunteer
Diane Cougill, Volunteer (left); Ryan Dwyer, FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent;Steve Goldman, FBI Asst. Special Agent in Charge; and Joeine Thomas, Board Member (right)
Becky Stenzel, Executive Director (left) and Steve Goldman, FBI Asst. Special Agent in Charge (right)