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Editorial: Hardeeville Lions Club offers ‘blessing’ for homeless

Ava Comer’s work as executive director of Hardeeville’s Greater Chamber of Commerce helped inspire her to lead a Hardeeville Lions Club drive to help the county’s homeless population.

The Lions Club is asking for sample-sized items to help fill “blessing bags” that will be distributed throughout the county and surrounding area.

Comer, Lions Club president, said dispersing the items, such as deodorant, tissues and socks, is a small way to give those experiencing homelessness “some comfort and some hope.”

She’s seen the need grow during the chamber’s annual Fill the Sleigh toy drive, when she’d be visited by families living in hotels, camp sites or in a van.

“People, everyday, don’t see this,” Comer said.

The South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless reported 550 people experiencing homelessness in the Lowcountry based on a 2016 Point-In-Time Count. Statewide, 5,051 people experienced homeless in 2016, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Comer hopes to initially fill about 100 freezer-sized bags and give them out during the year.

You can read more about it and how to get involved in this week’s Jasper County Sun Times.

“I think that so many people have focused on their own problems that it’s hard to take on something else,” she said.

Not for Comer.

Last Christmas the toy drive helped supply toys to 136 families and Comer hopes this push will help as many people as possible.

She was involved last Thanksgiving when former University of South Carolina football star Marcus Lattimore and his family helped feed hundreds on Thanksgiving. She initially brought about 30 dinners to Hardeeville, but had to go back to the Bar-B-Q Grill in Ridgeland for about 50 more plates.

Comer said the people appreciated the food, but truly savored being recognized.

“People were so thrilled that somebody thought of them,” Comer said. “It’s not just food, but it was that somebody thought of them. That made as much of a difference as having food in their belly.”

Comer said the “blessing bags” offer another way to support everyone in the community. She said her initiatives are aimed to “help build a stronger Hardeeville; to make the community stronger.”

We applaud the efforts of Comer and the Lions Club and hope the community helps support the project.

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