There are 35 foster kids in the Indianapolis area who have a lot more weight in their backpacks today thanks to the Indianapolis Colts. As reported by WISHTV8, the NFL team took time to fill 35 backpacks, each with 25 books for children in foster care. They also treated them to a day of food and fun.

The “Books For Youth” program sponsored by the Colts, Indiana DCS, and Cargo Services Inc. has been ongoing since 2006 and aims to promote education in the foster system. WISHTV noted that Indiana has more children in foster care than any surrounding state, seeing children placed at twice the national rate.

Not only did these foster children go home with a new library of reading material, but they got the chance to enjoy fun football activities and breakfast. Indianapolis Colts General Manager Chris Ballard made the time to serve breakfast with his family. Ballard commented on the event telling WISHTV, “You never know what that’s going to spark inside of them…It’s just a great chance to share what we’ve been given.”

Joseph Plummer, 13, was one of the children gifted the backpack and could not withhold his excitement. Plummer told WISHTV that books are his way of escape, noting that his grandmother drove him more than an hour to ensure he could attend the program.

Small gestures such as these free books can go a long way for a child in foster care. Lacking stability and often moving from school to school, life can be somewhat unpredictable and daunting for a child in care. There are many ways to help children in foster care, above and beyond becoming a foster parent. The Indianapolis Colts and their co-sponsors offer a bright spot in otherwise dim circumstances and a world of make-believe all stuffed in a backpack for a child in need.