Potter fans collecting donations

SPEW, the Charleston chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, is collecting donations to make packed suitcases for children entering foster care. (Provided) Ê

These local Potter-heads are using their love of pop culture for good. The Society for the Promotion of Equality and Wonderment, or SPEW, is The Charleston chapter of the Harry Potter Society.

They are collecting donations with the Red Suitcase Project for the Berkeley County Department of Social Services to send suitcases full of supplies to children entering the foster care system.

Each suitcase costs $50 and includes a handmade blanket, toiletries, activity books and a journal with a pencil.

Goose Creek native Cheryl Ingram, chapter coordinator, understands what it’s like for children entering the foster care system. She said she was lucky and was in it for only a year, but recalls not having basic necessities like toiletries or a blanket to keep warm.

“Several of our members are former foster children. This is a project I’ve been thinking of for a while, but never thought I could get it off the ground,” Ingram said.

SPEW is not just for Harry Potter fans. Anyone with an interest in pop culture can join. The organization, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, “takes an outside-of-the-box approach to civic engagement by using parallels from the ‘Harry Potter’ books to educate and mobilize young people across the world toward issues of literacy, equality, and human rights.”

Ingram said the group has been able to put together 20 suitcases so far. She said even a small donation helps if you cannot donate an entire suitcase.

“We’re hoping that having the dignity of having their own suitcase ... might help them with a little more confidence and help them not fall down and stay down,” Ingram said.

SPEW will be accepting online donations through March 22, but you may continue to donate in person by contacting charlestonhpa@gmail.com.

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or jmcduffie@postandcourier.com.