Love and Luggage
Sarah and Jim Otis 419/283-4298 Love and Luggage ssotis@bex.net

In honor of Amanda Lynn Otis

History of Love and Luggage

In 1999 a scrappy, cautious nine-year-old girl came to our home to be adopted. She had been in foster care through Lucas County Children Services for the prior 3-years. She was 9 soon to be 10. We had built our home life ready and able to bring Amanda into it with love, God's guidance and the love and support of a loving church and family. We did all that was prescribed by Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) to make it a safe environment and one that would encourage and embrace her arrival in December of that year. Her name: Amanda Lynn Otis.

Amanda and her case worker showed up with two black garbage bags of her personal belongings. She came with her possessions of 10 years in two bags. How do we measure the life of a child who has had a life of personal trauma in two garbage bags? What defined her was hurtful and was demeaning. We knew we could do better. She thought nothing of being packed up in two garbage bags. This was her life.

Around 2010, the concept of Love and Luggage was developed (in heart and in theory). In 2018, conversations began with LCCS about this concept. There were grants available, but to submit to the Greater Toledo Community Foundation or other prospective donor foundations, we had to be a registered 501.c.3. It was not our desire to create another nonprofit in Northwest Ohio. Teaming up with a local nonprofit that also worked with foster youth was the best way to support Love and Luggage. Eventually, a decision was made to team up as a program of Adopt America Network. What began as a mutual connection has grown into a supported program that encourages adoption and healthy relationships for these youth.

Since its inception in 2021, Love and Luggage has served 48 young people and engage over 90 supportive adults. That’s a 2:1 ratio in support of a vulnerable and at risk population.

Need for Love and Luggage

On any given day, there are nearly 424,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2019, over 672,000 children spent time in the U.S. foster care system. On average, children remain in state care for over a year and a half and five percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years. The statistics for young teens are even more stark where reunification or adoption prospects are slim.

As of 8/23
   • LCCS has 930 cases open- 130 more than in 2022.
   • 45% of those cases are in kinship care (relatives)
   • 55% are in foster homes or other placements.

Love and Luggage is set to serve up to 30 young adults (18-25) a year. Beginning in 2021, Love and Luggage has served over 48 young people who were aging out of foster care and therefore out of the protective reaches of the foster care system in Lucas County. Once these young people graduate from high school, most of them reside on their own in apartments. However, a number of these young people end up homeless or couch surfing from friends. Some young people do pursue college or post-secondary education and reside in dorms respectively. Due to the high percentage of these young adults who have moved frequently, have mental health diagnosis, are unable to find work or maintain work, there is a need for a community of support.

Love and Luggage provides this.
Love and Luggage provides unconditional love and durable luggage for young adults (18-25) aging out of foster care in Lucas County. We are a program of Adopt America Network, 501c.3.

Luggage: Upon graduation, a large new duffle bag on wheels is provided to each graduate. They also have a shopping opportunity for independent living items that have been collected (all new items) to help facilitate setting up their new living arrangements.

Love:Building upon the entry to Love and Luggage at High School graduation, these young people are then encouraged to attend the community support dinners held every 6-8 weeks. At these dinners, other adults are present, they can shop in the independent living pantry, interact with others who are walking the same journey, and learn life skills. Love and Luggage provides a gift card that allows them to bridge their low-income earnings every time they attend. Most find the meetings encouraging, supportive and a safe place. Love and Luggage is housed and supported by First Presbyterian Church of Maumee. The independent pantry and the meetings are held in this location as an inkind donation. In addition, Love and Luggage has many community partners who help gather the pantry items, provide meals and support us through donations. Funds raised through grants, individual supporters and organizations help support the graduation event, pantry items that are difficult to crowd source and gift cards for participants. Additionally, funds help support the back-end costs for Adopt America Network and other business expenses. Sarah and Jim take no salary or income. Love and Luggage is providing a critical need for this very isolated and marginalized group. Due to their lack of family cohesion, these young people often find themselves drifting back into the family situations that they were once removed from. Through Love and Luggage, a community has embraced them as they are and provides love that is representative of the love that The Bible requires of its followers.

Numbers of graduates by year:
2021: 15
2022: 17
2023: 20

Need for Love and Luggage - (click to open downloadable document)

Sarah and Jim Otis, 1311 River Road, Maumee, Ohio 43537
ssotis@bex.net 419/283-4298



Power of partnering-being a program of Adopt America Network, Inc.




We cannot and do not accept used luggage out of principle and health reasons.
We thank you for your generosity and the desire to recycle luggage.
If you would like to support purchasing of a NEW 27" Fila Duffle Bag, please contact us.


Your support of monetary donations is appreciated as it helps us purchase luggage, items for the pantry and provide gift cards for our young adults. Adopt America Network is the fiscal agent for Love and Luggage. Please kindly make all checks payable to Adopt America Network.
Note: Love and Luggage

For easy online donations, click on the red rectangle to AAN's donation platform. Please make notation when prompted that it's for Love and Luggage. Thank you!

In addition to providing these young people with new luggage, we provide the opportunity to gather as a community for dinner, a life-skill program, visit to the L and L pantry, and groceries provided by Maumee United Methodist Church of Maumee. Gathering provides a sense of community that many of these young adults don’t have as they navigate independent living.

Below is a link to the list of items we need to replenish the pantry:

If you want to shop on-line the link below will take you directly to our Amazon WISH LIST

River Road Inn & Sweets-Helping Fund The Mission of Love and Luggage

In May of 2021, we opened an Airbnb in our home in Maumee, Ohio. The plan is to help “fill” our large home (empty nesters) and we enjoy traveling using Airbnb’s. A percentage of the revenue from the Airbnb will be used to help offset some of the expenses related to Love and Luggage. The listing is found at:

We welcome referrals and offer a friends and family discount.


2024 Events for participants of Love and Luggage

  • 2/23 - Love and Luggage- Dinner 5-7 p.m.

  • 4/19 - Love and Luggage- Dinner 5-7 p.m.

  • 6/6 - Graduation (TBD) for Class of 2024

  • 7/12 - Picnic- Wildwood Metro Park 3-7 p.m.

  • 9/20 - Love and Luggage Dinner 5-7 p.m.

  • 11/8 - Love and Luggage Thanksgiving Dinner 5-7 p.m.

  • 12/13 - Love and Luggage Christmas Party 4-7 p.m.

All Dinners are at First Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Broadway, Maumee. Third Floor Youth Lounge.

Location: First Presbyterian Church, 200 E Broadway, Maumee, OH unless otherwise notified.
Sarah and Jim Otis    ssotis@bex.net    419/283-4298    https://www.loveandluggage.org/


LEADERSHIP TOLEDO - Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence (YIPEE)

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Program Information:


SLUHAN Family Scholarship

The SLUHAN Family Scholarship is for any emancipated youth for trade school or any accredited program

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Program Information:


Mortgage Bankers Association of Northwest Ohio

"Love and Luggage is grateful for the donation of $12,000 for the work of supporting young adults who are aging out of the foster care system. Through the 2022 year, MBANWO raised funds to go towards luggage, pantry goods, dinner gatherings and gift cards for our participants. We couldn't do this work without the generosity of the organizations in Northwest Ohio. Thank you to the Board of Directors and all the members of the Mortgage Bankers Association of NWO."


Greater Toledo Community Foundation - Stranahan

Greater Toledo Community Foundation- Stranahan Supporting Organization Fund awarded Love and Luggage $10,000 for the community dinners and gift cards for young people. This was written in collaboration with Adopt America Network for a program geared towards supporting families who have adopted older children. Thank you, Stranahan Supporting Organization, for your support and belief that these young people need a village.


2023 Class Graduation Announcements:

In collaboration with Lucas County Children Services, on June 8th we will be applauding 15 - 17 young people for their hard work and diligence to graduate!
For the Graduation event, it is important to have the pantry stocked with items for independent living.
Shop here for items needed so that all of the young people are set up with household items.

Want to be involved with this special day? Reach out: ssotis@bex.net


Field of Interest and Unrestricted Funds Increase the Power of Giving (GTCF/Foundation Matters, 2021

The financial support of area nonprofits that assist with foster care, adoption, aging out of the foster care system and housing for emancipated youth in northwest Ohio is a great example of the power of unrestricted and field of interest funds.

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Entire Article:


Donation Drive Kicks Off for Young Adults Leaving Foster Care (Maumee Mirror, 2021)

Please Click the Link Below to Read the Entire Article in the Mirror:


How does the Lucas County Children Services help our youth that are aging out of our foster care system?

Please click the link below to see this important article:




Supporting Love and Luggage can be easy as 1,2 3!

1. Invite Sarah and Jim to present to your business, organization, church, peer group.

2. Provide an opportunity to crowd source for the independent pantry items.

3. Sponsor one of the dinners throughout the year with a meal, serving and being present for the meal.

Volunteer Inquiry:

I am interested in helping with Love and Luggage in these areas:

    Shop On-Line to Help Fill Our Pantry

Please Click The Check Box I'm Not A Robot:

You will receive a copy of your Volunteer Inquiry form at the email address you specified above!

Advisory Board Members

Sarah and Jim Otis, 1311 River Road, Maumee, Ohio 43537 Love and Luggage ssotis@bex.net

Love and Luggage is a program of Adopt America Network, Toledo, Ohio