HAZARD — Hindman native and Lexington resident Don Pratt has made it his mission to donate luggage to foster kids around the state. He currently donates luggage to 80 different counties. He stopped by Hazard on Dec. 10 to drop off more than 20 pieces of luggage to foster kids in Perry County.
For over 30 years, Pratt has been a foster parent for more than 65 girls and boys. He started gathering and donating luggage about 15 years ago after he saw some of the discomfort and embarrassment that foster kids faced when they moved their clothes in trash bags.
He does all of this for free. Though Pratt isn’t a part of any organization, he does receive help from the local media, churches, Girl Scouts and some businesses that helps him take up donations at their locations. Pratt then picks up the collection and gets in contact with the counties that have foster kids that need luggage.
When he was a foster parent, Pratt could not go as far as he does now. At 71 years of age, Pratt isn’t able to be a foster parent as much as he would like too.
“Now I am going greater distances… I have seen the happiness on some kids, of course I won’t see the kids that get this, but I have seen the kids that got it at different times. This weekend I gave luggage to an adoption Christmas party from kids throughout the state. They were looking to meet their parents, and they got luggage, backpacks, duffel bags and whatever they could take home with them,” said Pratt.
In the past, Pratt donated a van load of luggage to kids at summer camp in Hazard to benefit kids of drug abuse.
Pratt also donates stuffed animals to the younger kids that might not understand the idea behind the free luggage. Pratt said the stuffed animals gives the younger kids a sense of security.
“I hope this is picked up by someone somewhere else as well. This should be national. They’re people right now that have luggage in store somewhere that they won’t use again,” Pratt said.
Those wishing to donate their old luggage can contact Pratt at 859-552-2235 or by email at [email protected]
TJ Caudill can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.