Local luggage drive to support victims of domestic violence and foster kids.

MIAMI - Local minister Cassie Tritthart has set her mind to lightening the load of some of Miami's most vulnerable - victims of domestic violence and children in foster care.

In conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Tritthart through her business Tritthart Special Event Services has teamed with Vance Auto Group in Miami to collect new and gently used luggage, duffle bags, and backpacks for relocating victims of domestic violence and children in foster care.

Donations will be accepted beginning Saturday, Oct. 7 at Vance Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, at 3606 OK-10, and Vance Ford Lincoln at 510 N Main St through the end of the month.

The items received will be split between the Community Crisis Center of Northeast Oklahoma and Ottawa County DHS.

Tritthart said she became familiar with the idea of luggage drives from online research and was moved to facilitate something similar in Miami.

Tritthart also has a personal stake in the project as a domestic violence survivor who just over two years ago benefited from the services of CCC. The luggage donations going to the CCC will go to residents of their domestic violence shelter and those being serviced during relocations.

While looking into a way to give back to CCC, Tritthart also became aware of the plight of many children in foster care who are also often subject to sudden moves.

"When foster kids move, if luggage is not available they have to pack all of their things into large garbage bags," said Tritthart. "So imagine all of your possessions in a black garbage bag."

Items being requested are traditional luggage sets, suitcases, duffle bags, and large backpacks in new or gently used condition. All closing components such as latches, zippers, and snaps must be in good working order.

Vance locations will only be accepting item donations. To make a direct monetary donation, Tritthart is directing community members, organizations, and businesses to contact CCC directly at 918-540-2775.

For more information about Tritthart Special Event Services call 918-919-1500, connect on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/tritthartses, or visit www.tritthartspecialeventservices.com.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Email her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.