Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano and his office are collecting gently used or new suitcases for foster children and victims of domestic abuse.
Fasano and his staff collect the suitcases throughout the year, which also includes other travel-related bags, to provide dignity to displaced children and families who are often shuffled from one place to another with only plastic bags to carry their belongings.
The effort is part of the Luggage of Love program coordinated in Pasco County by the University of Florida’s Pasco Extension office.
“It is heartbreaking to think that a child or a mother in distress may only have plastic garbage bags which they must use to carry their belongings,” Fasano said in a statement. “I am so proud of both our staff and members of the community who have supported this program over the past few years.
“Donations of everything from suitcases to duffle bags and backpacks are the lifeblood of this charity. If you have not given before and have some unused luggage you could donate, please reach out to our office. We will work with you in any way that we can to help get the luggage into the hands of those most in need.”
The program serves foster children removed from their homes due to emergency situations and single mothers escaping domestic violence.
While Fasano’s office collects luggage throughout the year for the program, donations are currently running low, creating a need for an extra boost in the community.
“Thank you so very much for the donations we have received in the past,” said Elizabeth Urquiola, program coordinator for the UF Pasco Extension Office & the Luggage of Love program. “We can’t thank our community enough for the amazing generosity. We need to keep our closets full because children and mothers may be in need at any time.
“Please help spread the love to our displaced children in Pasco County through our Luggage of Love program. Your donations will always be put to good use.”
Those interested in donating or learning more about the program can contact Assistant Tax Collector Greg Giordano at 727-847-8179 or Urquiola at 352-521-1254, ext. 5325.
Donations can be dropped off at any of the five tax collector offices in the county. Please visit www.pascotaxes.com for tax office locations and hours of operation.