Round Lake 5th graders stuff duffel bags for foster kids in memory of AJ Freund

ROUND LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- Fifth grade student council members stuffed duffel bags with toiletries, toys and other items Wednesday.

Many have heard of the death of 5-year-old AJ Freund, and this is how they are responding.

"It was a really sad tragedy," said Justin Lebron, 5th grader.

Parents are donating backpacks, duffel bags and the items to fill them. The student council is doing the work.

"AJ was a foster child. He and other kids needed this stuff," said Audrey Wright, 5th grade Student Council President.

"Here at school it was a nice outlet to keep it positive. And the kids and parents were all asking how can we help?" said teacher Jamie Koburi.

Stuff the Duffel was the brainchild of Alicia Wehby and her friends, but it spread quickly to thousands of people through social media. Their donated warehouse space in Crystal Lake is quickly filling with duffel bags, backpacks and items foster kids need.

They have trucks donated to help deliver once they pack it all up by the end of the month, all of it coming together since details about AJ's death emerged.

"People are very emotional when they're delivering. It's affected our entire community and beyond our community," said Wehby.

The bags will go non-profit foster care organizations like Let It Be Us, who said they've seen a huge spike of interest since AJ's death.

"It's phenomenal. It doesn't surprise me because it's a way for them to help," said Susan McConnell, the founder of Let It Be Us.

Once they get it all packed up and delivered, they plan to look for ways to do this regularly to help AJ's legacy have a lasting impact.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.