Suitcase donation aims to help instill a sense of dignity in Anchorage homeless youth

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Clothes and food: those are probably the main things people donate to homeless shelters, and while those are key necessities, people trying to fight their way out of homelessness often need more than just the bare essentials.

The Alaska Center for Spiritual Living learned that earlier this year from a congregation member who got to know a young girl who was transitioning from Covenant House Alaska to another home. She had to carry her belongings from one place to another in a trash bag.

"We thought that didn't really send the right message," said Rev. Don Fleming. "How would you feel walking down the road with everything you own in a trash bag?"

After the incident, the religious group rallied together and over the past few months gathered more than 100 suitcases to help instill a sense of dignity for Anchorage kids in need.

Camille Davis, a development associate for Covenant House, said that, while food and clothes are welcome and important donations, ACSL's effort helps address an often overlooked need.

"I think it's just the start of really humanizing, making people feel normal, just knowing that when you travel your stuff goes into luggage or a suitcase," Davis said.

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