The lead nonprofit agency overseeing foster care in Osceola, Orange, and Seminole counties says it needs the community’s support now more than ever, especially when it comes to meeting the back-to-school needs of children and teens, ages 2 to 18.

For a child experiencing foster care, normalcy can look as simple as a new backpack or pair of shoes, providing a sense of belonging as they start a new school year. The campaign is designed to help offset some of the financial stresses many caregiver families experience as the kids head back to the classroom. In particular, new, unused backpacks, lunchboxes and water bottles are needed.

Between now and July 21, Embrace Families aims to collect at least 1,000 of each of these items, which will be distributed to hundreds of Central Florida children in foster care.   Donations should be dropped off at Embrace Families headquarters (901 N. Lake Destiny Rd., Maitland) or service center locations in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, July 21. Contributions can also be made virtually through an Amazon Wishlist, or monetary donations can be made through the Back-to-School campaign website.

Anyone with questions or interest in hosting a collection drive in the office, at church or within a residential community, contact Morgan Donovan at