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Former foster child working to help kids

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A former West Michigan foster child is working to help abused and neglected kids.

Many kids in foster care are forced to carry their belongings in garbage bags and often move from house to house without much to call their own.

A local woman who has been in their shoes is working to change that.

Ronnie Stephenson is working with a group called Together We Rise. They provide things like suitcases to kids going through the system.

She hopes to raise $15,000 over the next few months to help the more than 700 kids in foster care in Kalamazoo County.

She says as a child she felt like a number, being moved from house to house with only a garbage bag of her clothes.

"I was handed a trash bag when I was first removed from foster care. And they gave me the trash bag and said here you go and just collect what you can. And when you're being removed from your Family it's not a fun experience to be handed a trash bag," said Stephenson.

The Together We Rise fundraiser is Saturday at Zazio's in Kalamazoo, from 6 to 8 p.m. It will feature a silent auction.

And for the rest of June and all of July Zazio's will give one dollar of the proceeds from two special martinis to the charity to help buy suitcases for foster care kids.

If you want more information about the event you can visit its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/383642061823870/

To give donations or learn more about Together We Rise you can visit their website here: http://www.togetherwerise.org/fundraise/HopeForKzoo

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