As we head into Fall most of us have fond memories of purchasing school supplies and backpacks to ready ourselves for the new school year. Not every kid is so lucky, though. Lack of money and other resources might make these preparations non-existent for some. Plastic trash bags can sadly be substituted not only for a new school backpack but for another even sadder situation – transporting a child’s prized possessions as he enters into foster care.
Enter Rob Scheer, who clearly demonstrates the incredible impact for good just one person can make in children’s lives. Growing up in the DMV he knows first-hand what a deprived childhood means. He himself was born into a family of ten children with parents who were alcoholics and drug addicts, unable to care for their offspring. He entered into foster care at age twelve with his few possessions in a black trash bag. When the state no longer paid for foster care he found himself at 18 homeless and living on the street, again with his belongings in a trash bag.
Somehow Scheer had the inner strength to find purpose by first enlisting in the Navy and then working as a successful banker for a number of years. After marrying Reece they both decided to adopt from the foster care system. And, in an astonishing display of history repeating itself, forty years later his four new family members would arrive at their doorstep with their torn and tattered clothes in plastic trash bags!
Determined to rectify this sad situation, Rob and Reece decided to organize a group of friends and neighbors to assemble backpacks to children about to enter foster homes filled with comfort and personal care items. The concept of helping young children grew and before long Comfort Cases was born as an official 501(c)3 in 2013.
The contents of the backpacks are simple and practical: new soap, a tooth brush, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, new pajamas with the tags still on them, books and a blanket. The latter item was the suggestion of his son Greyson who said that a blanket was “for kids, who when they wrap themselves in a blanket, know that we love them.” Volunteers also donate such needed items as single-serving snack packages, stationery, stuffed animals, and stuffed animals.
To date, an astonishing 170,000 comfort cases and Comfort XL duffel bags have been distributed to children in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and now the United Kingdom. Comfort cases are also distributed to police for them to give to children who need them in emergency situations.
Rob and Reece have relocated to a farm in Darnestown, Maryland, a situation they felt would be a better environment for one of their sons. They now have five children, with their son Alex joining the family at age 18.
Rob is busy traveling and spreading the word about Comfort Cases. A charismatic and gifted speaker, he has appeared on numerous shows including The CBS Evening News, a Ted+ Talk, a documentary called Dads, and The Ellen Show, to name just a few. In addition, he hosts his own award-winning podcast, Fostering Change, and is the author of a book, A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time.
Comfort Cases will hold their ten-year anniversary fundraiser on Saturday, October 8th, from 1 to 5 pm at the Comus Farm in Dickerson, Maryland. For more information about the fundraiser and how to help this incredible non-profit go to https://comfortcases.org.