My Bag, My Story

My Bag, My Story founder Cara Finger shows off some of the bags that help support children in need.

A Brentwood nonprofit is bringing awareness and resources to children in foster care by providing high-quality, stylish fabric bags, having recently donated their 1,000 bag to children in need.

The initiative started when in 2016 Cara Finger began serving as a foster parent but quickly realized that the need extended beyond giving children a home. 

“The bag, to me, is the vehicle for us to talk about foster care,” Finger said. “The bag gives us the platform to talk about the fact that there are 8,500 kids in Tennessee alone that are in foster care.

“Every child came to us with a trash bag or grocery sack and it really bothered me so I set out to try and figure out how to really just give bags to kids who came into our care."

Soon she connected with a manufacturer to created and donated a limited number of bags with the help of Belmont University’s Belmont Enactus program, which supports entrepreneurship. This lead to the formation of My Bag, My Story, which now sells the bags while donating one bag to a child in need for each bag sold. 

The nonprofit recently reached a milestone in their mission, having provided $1,000 free bags, with many more planned for the future.

“It’s an ever-revolving door for kids in foster care, when one leaves the system one or two more come in,” Finger said. “So the need is never going to run out unfortunately, and we’re really just getting started. With having given 1,000 bags away, we’re hoping to match what we’ve done in two and a half years this year.”

Finger said that her personal connection to the issue of foster care stretches back to her own experiences as a child when she was adopted, and now as an adult she sees the ability to provide a child with something personal and durable as a way to help foster a child’s dignity and self-respect during a difficult time.

“All kids in foster care want to do is just blend in and these bags are just like the bags that your kids or my kids would take to a sleepover,” Finger said. “I’ve had several agencies tell me that kids have said, ‘I get to keep this?'," she said excitedly. “Like they can’t even fathom the fact that someone is giving them something that is nice, that is new, that they get to keep, because most of the time unfortunately, foster kids get used clothes, used shoes.”

Finger said that her goal is to continue to expand and address the needs of underserved communities in Tennessee and across the nation, but for that they need help.

“The cost of making our bags has doubled because of the supply chain, transportation, everything that’s going on in the world, so we’re starting to look for corporate sponsorships who would sponsor an agency that we partner with,” Finger said. “We’re just trying to make the journey through the foster care system a little bit better."

More information about My Bag, My Story can be found here.