ELIZABETHTOWN — An anonymous donation of five blankets and a bag of gloves and toboggans highlighted the week for the fourth annual “Roger’s Wish” project at the Bladen Journal.
The Rev. Jimmy Tatum, pastor at Friendship Holiness Church in Harrells delivered a number of gloves and toboggans — and said he would return with a contribution of blankets from the church’s congregation before the collection was over.
“We just thought folks who were staying outdoors would appreciate a pair of gloves and something warm for their head,” Tatum said.
The donation of blankets brings the total collected so far to 44 as of Friday.
“We are thrilled the effort continues to bring folks in with contributions,” said W. Curt Vincent, general manager/editor of the Bladen Journal. “We realize the concerns surrounding Hurricane Matthew this past week have slowed things for ‘Roger’s Wish’ a bit, but also are confident the effort will pick up again through the rest of the month.”
“Roger’s Wish” is a community project by the newspaper in memory of Roger Grunder, who came up with the idea to collect blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless and needy a handful of years ago. Although he enlisted the help of the Bladen Journal to act as a collection point and was able to see the effort get started back in 2013, Grunder was tragically killed in a car accident before the collection effort was even a few weeks old.
Grunder, who was well known around Elizabethtown from his volunteer work at the Bladen County Crisis Thrift Store, as well as his regular visits with downtown businesses, could often be seen sitting on a bench reading or riding his bicycle through town.
“Roger’s Wish” will continue throughout the month of October, finishing up on Monday, Oct. 31. The items collected will then be given out to those in need on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Bladen Journal office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Those wanting to contribute blankets and/or sleeping bags can bring them to the Bladen Journal office in downtown Elizabethtown between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Anyone with questions can call 910-862-4163.