Comfort Cases Wins $75,000 from DSW to Support Foster Kids Nationwide

Comfort Cases

In 2015, Comfort Cases founder Robert Scheer and husband Maurice Scheer made headlines when their daughter, Amaya, was featured in American Girl Doll Magazine.

In the magazine, Amaya shares her story of coming to live with her two foster dads in 2009, carrying only a trash bag filled with her belongings. As part of the story, Amaya promotes her father’s organization, which provides backpacks filled with basic necessities to foster kids.

Comfort Cases
Amaya was featured in American Girl Doll Magazine in 2015. Image via Rachel Stevenson

The Scheers went on to adopt Amaya and her brother, along with two additional brothers. This modern family, with its white gay dads and four children of color, was a ground-breaking statement for a company like American Girl Doll.

However, not all were happy. In the weeks following the magazine’s release, One Million Moms expressed their displeasure with the magazine’s choice of cover stories.

As the Washington Post reported in November of 2015, “the group criticized the article, saying it should have focused ‘on the child and not about the parents since it is a magazine for children.’ It went on: “The magazine also could have chosen another child to write about and remained neutral in the culture war.”

In summary, One Million Moms called homosexuality wrong and encouraged readers to cancel their magazine subscriptions.

Thanks, in part, to the publicity, the family has since been featured in several news articles, won numerous awards, and was recently featured on Ellen.

Two years later, Comfort Cases is stronger than ever.

Just last week, Comfort Cases was awarded $75,000 from DSW after winning an online voting contest through www.shoeloverscare.com.

Comfort Cases
CEO Roger Rawlins and store associate, Erin, presented the check to Comfort Cases amid tears and applause. (Image provided by Comfort Cases)

DSW’s CEO, Roger Rawlins, presented the award to the Scheer family in their in their Rockville, MD office, filled to the brim with toiletries, blankets, bags, and stuffed animals, congratulating them on their hard work and dedication to the cause.

“We actually went out to our customers and our associates for this whole process,” said Rawlins. There were over 130 organizations nominated, including Comfort Cases, which was nominated by Ohio-based associate, Erin T.

“We spent a day, as a leadership team, narrowing those down to eight. We then took those eight and sent them out to 25 million rewards members and our 13,000 associates and said, ‘vote!'”

Although Rawlins and his family did not vote, he admitted to having a personal connection to the foster system and was far from disappointed to see the Scheer family take home the prize.

The remaining finalists each received $5,000, including the Trevor Project, which works to “end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people.”

Former Mayor of Gaithersburg, Sydney Katz, who now sits on the Montgomery County Council, shared a few words as well. “We want to thank everybody for everything that you do. Anything we can do from the office, from me personally, from the county, let us know. What you are doing is saving and changing lives.”

Scheer thanked Rawlins and the former mayor, then turned to the audience and said, “It is a privilege for us to give back.”

To see the live feed of the check presentation, click here.

Comfort Cases
Comfort Cases was awarded their winnings surrounded by backpacks, toiletries, stuffed animals, and friends. (Image by Fay Stevenson)

Comfort Cases plans to use their winnings to further their organization’s mission and hopes to eventually hire an executive director to run their day-to-day operations.

“On any given day, nearly 428,000 children are in the foster care system in the United States,” states the Comfort Cases website. “Of the thousands of children who enter the system each year, most arrive carrying little more than the clothes on their backs.  If they are afforded the opportunity to collect any personal belongings, many are then given a trash bag in which to place and carry their personal items.”

The website continues, “Every child deserves to pack their belongings in a special bag that they can call their own.  It is our mission as a charity to provide a proper bag, filled with comfort and essential items, to these brave children on their journey to find their forever home.”

The organization has hosted back packing parties throughout the nation and they keep a map on their office wall of each city in which they have an impact.

If you are interested in hosting a packing party, supporting the mission of Comfort Cases, or donating items to their cause, click here.

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.

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