Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club is sending cases of love

Photo by Odalis A. SUAREZ: Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club President Art Rinanman and wife Dee, the club’s secretary, are giving kids in foster care something to call their own replacing plastic bags with backpacks and luggage filled with personal items that they can take with them when they go to new homes.

By Odalis A. SUAREZ

The Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club will be taking part in Kases for Kids, an effort that collects backpacks and luggage for kids entering foster care.
“When kids enter the foster care system, they currently were given plastic
or paper bags. The concept is to
give a suitcase to take with [them], something that’s [theirs], something they can hold on to,” said Art Rinaman, Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club president.
The idea originated with the Los Angeles-Mid Valley Lions Club, who sponsored the event last year.  When Rinaman found out about the
program, he decided to turn it into a collaborative attempt. All donations that are made will be sent to the Los Angeles Department of Children
“[I said] I’ll help you with a joint project. We’ll make it a big project for our club,” explained Rinaman.
The donation drive will take place this Saturday, Aug. 14. Rinaman is looking for backpacks, suitcases, and duffel bags that are in good condition. In addition, the Lions Club is asking donors to bring school supplies such as pencils, erasers, markers, and sharpeners as well as toiletries such as dental floss, hairbrushes, soap and shampoo. This request was something extra that the LA-Mid Valley Lions Club added to the program, and was later endorsed by the Crescenta-Cañada Club.
“We’re not asking for money, to donate blood, or buy anything. It’s just clean[ing] out your closet to give somebody a chance to use something you’re not using,” stated Rinaman.
Already with a few backpack and luggage donations, Rinaman has a goal set for the amount of donations he would like to collect.
“My goal for the program is to be able to fill a semi-trailer,” stated Rinaman, who has been a volunteer since he was 13.
Rinaman, with his wife Dee, Lions Club secretary, will be at the Ralphs parking lot, 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard. They will stand in front of the wall located at the west entrance to the parking lot from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
“All we’re doing is filling a void, a need that the system has. Whether there’s a positive or negative reaction, it’s just something [that belongs to the child] that no one can take away during this time of need,” stated Rinaman.