ELIZABETHTOWN — With just a handful of days left in the fifth annual Roger’s Wish project, donations of blankets has risen above the 75 mark.
Roger’s Wish will run through Tuesday at 5 p.m., and those items donated will be distributed on Friday, Nov. 3, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Bladen Journal office in downtown Elizabethtown.
“Once again, Bladen County is showing just how compassionate and generous it is,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager and editor of the Bladen Journal. “It’s amazing the quantity and quality of what we have been given.”
In addition to the more than 50 blankets, there have been a variety of other items contributed as well.
Included among those who brought donations this past week were Rebecca Taylor of Elizabethtown, along with Paul and Elizabeth Albritton of Wilmington, who brought blankets donated through Windermere Presbyterian Church in Wilmington.
“We are now down to the last week of the project, and we’re hoping to see what might come in,” Vincent said. “We’ve heard there may be groups that have been collecting, so hopefully there will be a really strong amount coming in next week.”
The project 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 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.