Sarah and Jim Otis, 1311 River Road, Maumee, Ohio 43537 Love and Luggage ssotis@bex.net

Love and Luggage is a program of Adopt America Network, Toledo, Ohio

History of Love and Luggage

In 1999 a scrappy, cautious nine-year-old girl came to our home to be adopted. She had been in foster care through Lucas County Children Services for the prior 3-years. She was 9 soon to be 10. We had built our home life ready and able to bring Amanda into it with love, God’s guidance and the love and support of a loving church and personal home family. We did all that was prescribed by Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) to make it a safe environment and one that would encourage and embrace her arrival in December of that year. Her name: Amanda Lynn Otis.

Amanda and her case worker showed up with two black garbage bags of her personal belongings. She came with her possessions of 10 years in two bags. How do we measure the life of a child who has had a life of personal trauma in two garbage bags? What defined her was hurtful and was demeaning. We knew we could do better. She thought nothing of being packed up in two garbage bags. This was her life.

Around 2010, the concept of Love and Luggage was developed (in heart and in theory). In 2018, conversations began with LCCS about this concept. There were grants available, but to submit to the Greater Toledo Community Foundation or other prospective donor foundations, one had to be a registered 501.c.3. It was not our desire to create another nonprofit in Northwest Ohio. Teaming up with a local nonprofit that also worked with foster youth was the best way to support this idea. Eventually, a decision was made to team up as a project of Adopt America Network. What began as a mutual connection has grown into a supported program that encourages adoption and healthy relationships for these youth.

Need for Love and Luggage

424,000 children are in Foster Care in the United States. On any given day, there are nearly 424,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2019, over 672,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care. On average, children remain in state care for over a year and a half, and five percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.

In 2018, LCCS had an average daily caseload of 1,471 children. Almost all (98 percent) of these children were living in a family environment:

   • 605 (41 percent) were living in their own homes
   • 431 (30 percent) were in foster care or a similar placement
   • 401 (27 percent) were living with a relative or other kinship caregiver

Love and Luggage is meant to address the need for a caseload of 30 children yearly. Starting out for 2021, LAL will meet the need for teens (18-21) who are emancipating from the child welfare system. Once they graduate high school, most of these teens will be going to reside on their own-- attending college, joining an apprenticeship or other training, or entering the work world. Since they lived in group, foster, or relative caregiver homes, most won’t have the amenities necessary to start living on their own.

These young adults could benefit from adult luggage large enough to put their personal belongings in. Additional items to go in the bags based on recommendation will be provided through a pantry housed at First Presbyterian Church of Maumee. (Love First) Included in each duffle bag – as examples would be hygiene items, a towel set, housewares, cleaning supplies, personal items and a Visa Card and a NIV Bible. In addition, there will be a resource guide for organizations and support systems/numbers to contact. (This is best determined by needs identified by supporting organization.

Sustainability of LAL- Outcomes The sustainability of Love and Luggage is a crucial consideration because teens emancipate from care year after year. It is also our desire to see this grow into Love and Luggage to support the number of children in foster care but are taking the call to help those emancipating from LCCS.

The number of LCCS teens emancipating will vary, so the annual expense will rise or fall depending on that figure. The long-term viability of the program will depend on donors such as churches, businesses, civic organizations individuals, and foundations. The Otis’ will be tithing to fund this project.

There is interest to move to a more holistic approach to support emancipated youth through partnerships that support teens. Post COVID will allow us to expand on this opportunity. This is a community “investment,” because the more successful emancipating teens are at transitioning into adulthood, the more likely they will become productive, taxpaying citizens themselves. Teen homelessness is a particular problem among emancipating teens, both locally and nationwide. This then leads to other problems, such as crime, drug use, and others. Statistically, 70% of emancipated youth will be homeless within their first two years.

At each quarterly gathering, a short survey is given to help us adjust what we are offering and how we can be of support to these young people.

2023 Events for participants of Love and Luggage

Sarah and Jim Otis, 1311 River Road, Maumee, Ohio 43537
ssotis@bex.net 419/283-4298







We cannot and do not accept used luggage out of principle and health reasons.
We thank you for your generosity and the desire to recycle luggage..
If you would like to support purchasing of a NEW 27" Fila Duffle Bag, please contact us.


Your support of monetary donations is appreciated as it helps us purchase luggage, items for the pantry and provide gift cards for our young adults. Adopt America Network is the fiscal agent for Love and Luggage. Please kindly make all checks payable to Adopt America Network.
Note: Love and Luggage

For easy online donations, click on the red rectangle to AAN's donation platform. Please make notation when prompted that it's for Love and Luggage. Thank you!

In addition to providing these young people with new luggage, we provide the opportunity to gather as a community for dinner, a life-skill program, visit to the L and L pantry, and groceries provided by Maumee United Methodist Church of Maumee. Gathering provides a sense of community that many of these young adults don’t have as they navigate independent living.

Below is a link to the list of items we need to replenish the pantry:

If you want to shop on-line the link below will take you directly to our Amazon Market Basket

River Road Inn Sweets- Helping Fund Love and Luggage

In May of 2021, we opened an Airbnb in our home in Maumee, Ohio. The plan is to help “fill” our large home (empty nesters) and we enjoy traveling using Airbnb’s. A percentage of the revenue from the Airbnb will be used to help offset some of the expenses related to Love and Luggage. The listing is found at:

We welcome referrals and offer a friends and family discount.


2023 Events for participants of Love and Luggage

  • 2/24 5-7p.m. @ First Pres. Of Maumee, dinner, program and pantry open

  • 4/28 5-7p.m. @ First Pres. Of Maumee, dinner, program and pantry open

  • 6/8, 2023 (3-5:00 p.m.) Graduation event! First Presbyterian Church*

  • 7/14 PICNIC, 3-7 @ Wildwood Metroparks - Cook out and games.

  • 9/22, 5-7 p.m. @ First Pres. Of Maumee, dinner, program and pantry open

  • 11/10, 5-7 p.m. @ First Pres. Of Maumee, dinner, program and pantry open

  • 12/8, 4-7 p.m. @ First Pres. Of Maumee, Dinner, and distribution of Christmas gifts

  • *this event is for the graduates of class of 2023 only.

Location: First Presbyterian Church, 200 E Broadway, Maumee, OH unless otherwise notified.
Sarah and Jim Otis    ssotis@bex.net    419/283-4298    https://www.loveandluggage.org/


LEADERSHIP TOLEDO - Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence (YIPEE)

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Program Information:


SLUHAN Family Scholarship

The SLUHAN Family Scholarship is for any emancipated youth for trade school or any accredited program

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Program Information:


Mortgage Bankers Association of Northwest Ohio

"Love and Luggage is grateful for the donation of $12,000 for the work of supporting young adults who are aging out of the foster care system. Through the 2022 year, MBANWO raised funds to go towards luggage, pantry goods, dinner gatherings and gift cards for our participants. We couldn't do this work without the generosity of the organizations in Northwest Ohio. Thank you to the Board of Directors and all the members of the Mortgage Bankers Association of NWO."


Greater Toledo Community Foundation - Stranahan

Greater Toledo Community Foundation- Stranahan Supporting Organization Fund awarded Love and Luggage $10,000 for the community dinners and gift cards for young people. This was written in collaboration with Adopt America Network for a program geared towards supporting families who have adopted older children. Thank you, Stranahan Supporting Organization, for your support and belief that these young people need a village.


2023 Class Graduation Announcements:

In collaboration with Lucas County Children Services, on June 8th we will be applauding 15 - 17 young people for their hard work and diligence to graduate!
For the Graduation event, it is important to have the pantry stocked with items for independent living.
Shop here for items needed so that all of the young people are set up with household items.

Want to be involved with this special day? Reach out: ssotis@bex.net


Field of Interest and Unrestricted Funds Increase the Power of Giving (GTCF/Foundation Matters, 2021

The financial support of area nonprofits that assist with foster care, adoption, aging out of the foster care system and housing for emancipated youth in northwest Ohio is a great example of the power of unrestricted and field of interest funds.

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Entire Article:


Donation Drive Kicks Off for Young Adults Leaving Foster Care (Maumee Mirror, 2021)

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Entire Article in the Mirror:


How does the Lucas County Children Services help our youth that are aging out of our foster care system?

Please click the link below to see this important article:




Volunteer Inquiry:

I am interested in helping with Love and Luggage in these areas:

    Shop On-Line to Help Fill Our Pantry

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You will receive a copy of your Volunteer Inquiry form at the email address you specified above!

Advisory Board Members

Sarah and Jim Otis, 1311 River Road, Maumee, Ohio 43537 Love and Luggage ssotis@bex.net

Love and Luggage is a program of Adopt America Network, Toledo, Ohio