Children Deserve Better

The Brown Bag Campaign

This little bag could change a life

Child & Family Services helps hundreds of children heal from trauma each year through foster care and other valuable programs. Many arrive on our doorsteps with few of their own belongings – often shoved into a brown paper or plastic bag.

The Brown Bag Campaign reminds us of the plight of children entering the foster care system — and of the constant need for foster and adoptive parents to help care for them. These children deserve better.

At CFS, we believe every child deserves to be safe, happy, and loved. We also believe that the children we serve should have clothing, school supplies, transportation, and opportunities such as music or dance lessons or summer camp. The Campaign has raised more than $380,000 for these needs since inception, and has helped recruit many foster and adoptive families. 

Thank you for your support of our work to nurture children and strengthen families.

Click here to learn more about foster and adoptive parenting.

Click here to learn more about donating to the work of CFS.

The Brown Bag Campaign represents the fact that children often come into foster care very quickly and suddenly, with their personal items stuffed into brown paper or plastic bags. It’s also a reminder that we need people who have the room in their hearts and homes to become foster and adoptive parents.  We are grateful to everyone who has helped make this effort so successful.

– Gina Aranki, CFS Executive Director

How Does the Campaign Work?

On any given day during the Brown Bag Campaign, readers of northern Michigan newspapers will find a small brown paper bag printed with a big message:  that despite having faced all too much trauma in their short lives, children are resilient and can overcome those experiences—particularly if people care to help. 

The bag doubles as a mailer. Please donate to Child and Family Services’ work to provide children in foster care and other programs with opportunities to heal and thrive. Donations are also gratefully accepted online by clicking the button below. You may also call Child and Family Services at (231) 946-8975.

Ways to Give

Check, Cash, or Money Order:

Child & Family Services gratefully accepts donations payable to:

Child & Family Services
3785 Veterans Drive
Traverse City MI  49684
Child & Family Services
3434 M-119
Harbor Springs MI  49740

Credit Card Donations:

Credit card donations may be made via Paypal by clicking the button below, or by phone at (231) 946-8975.

Tax EIN: 38-2534222


We are constantly warned about many things that contribute to poor health – bad diet, smoking, a lack of exercise. However, most don’t know about something else that dramatically impacts health and effects nearly two in three adults – exposure to childhood trauma.

Adverse Childhood Experiences, referred to as ACEs, are traumatic events that can profoundly impact a child’s developing brain and overwhelm their ability to cope. ACEs include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse. ACEs make children more likely to act out, be violent, or have social difficulties, and are linked to risky behaviors, chronic illness, and early death.

The Centers for Disease Control analyzed exposure to ACEs in the late 1990s. The ACE Study’s 17,000 participants were educated (over 75% attended college), mostly middle to upper class, and 74% white. As it turns out, ACEs are extremely common. 64% have at least one and if you have one, there’s an 87% chance you have two or more.

This and other research shows undeniable connections between unresolved childhood trauma and poor mental and physical health. Having four or more ACEs…

…read more.

Get your ACE Score.