PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A group of Portsmouth friends are spreading some warmth and Christmas cheer to those who need it most.
The group collected items to help the homeless with help from the community.
They’ll be handing out care packages this weekend in an event called “Blessings in the Park.”
What started as an idea on Thanksgiving grew into something bigger than Elizabeth Ripley expected.
“Soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, gloves, hats, tissues, hand warmers,” Ripley said, naming off some of the items they collected.
Ripley says 2019 has been a tough year for her, but she and some friends wanted to focus on the positive, nonetheless.
They decided to gather items to help those who are down on their luck.
Ripley works at Town Point Pub in Portsmouth and word spread about the mission to help.
The group collected dozens of shoes and in just a couple of weeks, donations of toiletry items and even coats started pouring in.
“My boss donated money so we could go get the items on the list,” Ripley said. “The patrons donated money. They also brought in items on the list, so without them this wouldn’t have been possible.”
They’ve gathered enough items to help 100 people. They’ll be passing them out at Portsmouth City Park to whoever needs it.
Ripley said she just wants to pay it forward.
“I hope it makes them feel good inside and give them hope and faith that there’s still good people out there and that there’s people that understand their situation and circumstances and want to help,” she said.
The Blessings in the Park event will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Ripley is still taking donations.
They’re in need of coats and scarves. If you’d like to help, you can drop off items at Towne Point Pub located at 3558 Towne Point Rd in Portmsouth.