ELIZABETHTOWN — With just 10 days to go, the Bladen Journal’s efforts to gather as many new or gently used blankets and sleeping bags for the county’s needy continues to generate interst and donatoins.
About 50 blankets, sleeping bags and comforters have been delivered to the Bladen Journal in downtown Elizabethtown as part of the “Roger’s Wish” effort.
That project has caught the attention of several church groups in the area, and they plan to collect the items themselves before delivering them to the Bladen Journal offices late this month.
“Roger’s Wish” is being promoted by the Bladen Journal in order to fulfill a wish by a local man who recently passed away. The newspaper staff is accepting donated new and gently used blankets and sleeping bags through the month of October.
Roger Grunder, better known around Elizabethtown as “Roger Dodger,” started to collect the items back in August. His hope was, once the weather started to turn cooler, to offer them to the area’s homeless and those in need. The Bladen Journal was a collection point for those items.
“Roger, who was homeless himself, really had a heart for those in need,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager and editor of the Bladen Journal. “He wanted to hold another collection period in October before finding a time and way to distribute the items.”
Grunder was killed in a car accident two days after he was saved at Open Door Missions.
“That left his wish to help the area’s needy with blankets and sleeping bags up in the air,” Vincent said, “and we decided to fulfill it in his memory.
“It’s awesome that we’ve collected more than 40 items,” he added. “And I’m quite sure we will collect many more. Every one will go to a needy person in Bladen County, just as Roger wanted.”
The Bladen Journal will accept blankets and sleeping bags through Oct. 31 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 862-4163.
Information on when, where and how the items will be given out will come in early November.