Community

Strand Notebook | Third-grader’s blanket drive helps homeless

A photo of Jaymi Suggs.
A photo of Jaymi Suggs. For The Sun News

Over a year ago, during the winter, Jaymi Suggs, now 9, was riding with her grandfather when they saw a homeless man on the street corner. “He was very skinny and cold that winter,” Jaymi said.

Her grandfather, Jimmy Suggs, gave her some money to give to the man.

“She wanted to do more,” Jimmy said.

Jaymi kept thinking about that man and other homeless people, and when winter came again, she was working on a plan to help by having a blanket drive and providing blankets for as many children and adults who needed them as she could.

“It has been on my mind for a long time,” she said.

Her grandparents, Jimmy and Amelia Suggs, live in Barefoot Resort, and they took her to discuss her idea with Robin McCord, lifestyles director at the Barefoot Resort Residents Club. McCord sent emails to residents and explained about the drive and how it came to be. The residents responded and took blankets to McCord’s office to be kept until the drive was over.

Jaymi called her project Barefoot Blankets, and in a few days, she had collected close to 60, along with some coats, pajamas and other items.

In early March, Jaymi; sister Elizabeth; parents Chip and Alena Suggs, who also had collected a few of the blankets; and other members of their family delivered the blankets to Myrtle Beach Haven.

Myrtle Beach Haven provides lodging and food to people in need. It is a United Way Community Partner and is unique in the area because it provides shelter to individuals and to families.

Myrtle Beach Haven’s website reads in part: “Whatever circumstances you may be facing, Myrtle Beach Haven is a supportive community agency with a wealth of opportunities for personal growth through the support of private donations from individuals as well as many local churches and businesses.

“We aspire to strengthen each person’s confidence and encourage personal growth via individual guidance and resources available within our community.”

Myrtle Beach Haven is always in need of donations of many kinds, ranging from financial support to shampoo and other personal items.

“They said that they were really happy that we got a whole lot of blankets,” Jaymi said.

Jaymi has won awards for helping others, including the Terrific Kid award at her school, but she doesn’t do it for awards. “It makes me feel very good that I collected the blankets,” she said.

“She always thinks of other people. It’s just been her nature, I guess,” Chip said. “We’re very proud of her.”

Jaymi, a third-grader and straight-A student at Ocean Drive Elementary School, said her family has always taught her to help other people. She wants everyone to know that they “should always try to help others, and even when they don’t really think they should, they should.”

More information about Myrtle Beach Haven can be found at www.myrtlebeachhaven.com.

Contact PEGGY MISHOE at pegmish@sccoast.net or 365-3885.

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