ELIZABETHTOWN — The fifth annual Roger’s Wish project opened Monday at the Bladen Journal, and the initial response was encouraging.
A total of 19 items — including numerous comforters — were received were received in the first few days for the blanket and sleeping bag drive that will last the entire month of October. The items collected will be distributed to the public on Friday, Nov. 3.
The effort was the brainchild of Roger Grunder, a local homeless man who had a heart for those in need. Grunder was a fixture in the downtown Elizabethtown during the final years of his life, and he was often found at the Bladen Crisis Thrift Shop volunteering his time.
Grunder was tragically killed in a one-car accident just hours after he was saved and baptized at a local church — and just weeks after he joined with the Bladen Journal to start the first sleeping bag and blanket collection for the area’s homeless and needy.
After his death, the Bladen Journal continued the collection and, over the first four years, has collected more than 700 items ranging from blankets to sleeping bags to comforters, to bed sheets to winter gloves and more.
The items collected in 2016, totaling more than 100, were all donated to a relief effort for the area’s victims of Hurricane Matthew.
The annual drive has no goal for this year’s effort and will run through Oct. 31. Individuals, company groups, church groups, school groups and civic groups are urged to drop off donations of new or gently used blankets and sleeping bags during regular business hours — between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. — at the Bladen Journal office in downtown Elizabethtown.
Anyone with questions about the Roger’s Wish project can call 910-862-4163.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.