Boerne teen creates charity donating bags to foster children to carry their belongings

Hunter Beaton remembers foster siblings arriving with trash bags of belongings

BOERNE, Texas – Hunter Beaton is a senior in high school, but he was only 5 years old when his family began taking in foster children.

They’re now his adopted brothers and sisters, but he remembers a heartbreaking detail about the day each of them first came to his family's house.

"They had nothing and had a trash bag full of these one or two or three items. It's really astounding to see," he said.

That memory eventually fueled Beaton to create a charity called Day 1 Bags.

"It was about 100 bags we started off with," he said.

He delivered them to foster children, who often move from home to home.

"They would be like, 'This is my bag? I can take it out of here?' I'd say, 'Yeah, it's yours. Go ahead and do whatever you want with it!' It was just really beautiful," Beaton said.

A simple bag had a huge impact, offering foster children a sense of self, ownership and control in a seemingly chaotic world.

It was clear to Beaton he had to keep going.

"Someone referenced me to a local bag supplier, a hidden gem of Boerne, my hometown," he said.

"I said, 'I've got the perfect stuff! Just come out and look at them,'" said Jimmy Chittim, who owns Flying Circle Gear. "I work closely with the Army and the Air Force. I had thousands of duffel bags, square duffel bags, roll duffel bags, backpacks."

With Chittim's help, Beaton donated 6,000 bags just last year alone.

It wasn't long before a nationwide nonprofit took notice.

One Simple Wish grants wishes for foster kids and decided to join forces with Beaton.

Now, every one of Beaton's bags comes with a wish card. The foster children can email in a wish they have for things like bicycles or laptops. The email goes to a list of donors who then help fulfill that wish.

Donors are not only funding wishes. They're donating straight to Beaton's cause, helping him buy more bags.

"It's some of the most rewarding and some of the most beautiful things to see," Beaton said.

Beaton is only 18 and about to graduate high school, so he's figuring out how to keep the project going.

He said he may eventually pass it down to his younger brother, who is in eighth grade right now.

To help, you can donate to the website or email Beaton for more information.

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.