The Department of Social Services assists people every day, addressing poverty, family violence, abuse and neglect issues, and helping needy households toward self-sufficiency. That often means fulfilling emergency needs — and the Clinton Police Department and a couple of local misses want to help out.
Jaycie Bullard, who serves as the People’s Choice selection in the Little Miss/Teen Miss NC pageant. and Miniature Miss North Carolina Aniston Allen, along with the Clinton Police Department have partnered this holiday season and are calling on the public’s support to assist an underserved need in the county.
It began as a Christmas outreach, with a deadline to donate local gift cards, gift certificates and monetary donations set for Dec. 18, but the need is always there, Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards said. So, the outreach has been extended.
The effort, he said, will help Social Services provide emergency assistance to children “in a time which may be their greatest need.”
“We’re accepting gift cards, certificates and monetary donations and will be giving those to DSS that can be used for a family they are working with for emergency needs,” said Edwards. “Sometimes when they are caring for children these kids need a hot meal, diapers, formula, or personal hygiene products.”
The effort was originally expected to be limited to a Christmas outreach, but the chief and others felt people should know that their gift would help someone throughout the year. It was not simply a seasonal need.
“We’ve had some donations, but we didn’t want this to just be a Christmas thing, so we’re going to continue collecting,” said Edwards. “We reset the deadline until Jan. 31. This is a gift that is going to give all throughout the year.”
“We wanted a good project we could work on this holiday season,” said Edwards. “We reached out to DSS and they helped us, identifying an underserved need.”
Bullard is no stranger to collecting for a good cause, having been involved in a hurricane outreach spearheaded by Tammy Grady, through which supplies were gathered over the course of several weeks in this community to benefit victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. That disaster relief drive culminated in an effort held at the end of September at the Clinton City Market on Lisbon Street, with the community pitching in to benefit the areas in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico ravaged earlier this year.
Bullard challenged the girls in her pageant group to bring a certain amount of items, and they did. Now, she, Allen, Edwards and others are asking for more support — this time to help children in Sampson County.
“They have gift cards they will use,” said Edwards of DSS, noting late-night purchases of hygiene items from Walmart or a needed meal from McDonald’s or wherever else they can get something to eat.
No gift is too small.
“DSS is helping families and caring for children 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year,” the police chief said.
Donations are being accepted at the Clinton Police Department or by mail at P.O. Box 986 Clinton, N.C. 28329.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.