ELIZABETHTOWN — The fifth annual Roger’s Wish project continues to attract the heartfelt generosity of area residents in the third week of the month-long effort by the Bladen Journal.
As of Wednesday, more than 35 blankets have been donated — along with a variety of others items like jackets, bed linens and toiletries.
“We’re thrilled with the response so far, and we know the last week or 10 days will bring a majority of what is collected for Roger’s Wish,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager and editor of the Bladen Journal. “I’m looking forward to filling the front of our office with much-needed items.”
One of the more heartfelt donations came from Margaret Royster of Elizabethtown, who donated three blankets that belonged to her son Daniel James Royster. He passed away on Jan. 26, 1994, at the age of 14.
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.
Grunder’s father Roger L. Grunder recently donated three jackets to the cause.
The Roger’s Wish project will continue through the end of October, and all items received will be distributed to the area’s homeless and those in need on Friday, Nov. 3 — and some of Grunder’s family will be present to assist with the distribution.
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 during regular business hours.