Tampa couple collecting items, packing suitcases for teens aging out of the foster care system

Bernetta and Earl Knighten are packing, but not for a trip. 

"Our goal is to pack 25 suitcases for foster children aging out of the Tampa Bay area foster care system," Bernetta Knighten explained. 

The Knightens started the Knighten Project as a grassroots effort to give back to the community. 

"I know a lot of times we always expect something in return, but for us, we feel like it would be a blessing if we could give others," Earl Knighten shared.

The couple is starting a donation drive called ‘Packing for a Purpose’. The goal is to supply a suitcase for foster children aging out of the system.  

"I'm trying to let people know that I care," Bernetta Knighten said. "Let people know that somebody is thinking about them." 

Bernetta started the program four years ago when she was pregnant in the hospital watching television talk shows. 

"They would bless people,” she said. “I would get chill bumps. Not because I wanted to be the recipient, but I want to be the giver. I wanted to change people's lives like they did.” 

The suitcases are filled with essential toiletries. 

"Toothpaste, toothbrush, things that you need. Socks, underwear, washcloth, t-shirts, files to keep your papers in; anything you can think of," Bernetta listed. 

Earl Knighten says it's the family motto to give to the youth. 

"If we have the opportunity and be blessed enough to share and be able to give back to them so that their transition could be easier." 

A transition that they hope will lead to a successful life. December 13 is the last day to donate.

LINK: Click here to learn more and to make a donation.