Those familiar with Mt. Vernon Schools know that philanthropic efforts are instilled in students beginning in elementary school. This year, eight year-old second grader, Hunter Lenk, has taken the initiative to collect 502 blankets for the homeless at Wheeler Mission in December. In January, he personally delivered approximately 20 blankets to individual homeless people and the remaining blankets were donated to Wheeler Mission.
Hunter started the blanket collection in December of 2014, receiving 105 new or used blankets that year. He and his parents started a non-profit organization called “Hunters Hugs.” Jordan Kiser, Hunter’s mother, said “social media through Facebook has been tremendous this year. We met a lady from Anderson who donated 25 blankets!” Any size blankets were accepted, from baby blankets to comforters.
Hunter came up with the idea after discussing what it means to be homeless with his step-mother, Brittany Garrity, who is the backbone of “Hunters Hugs.” After answering Hunter’s many questions, Hunter became noticeably upset and concerned for their welfare. Simply put, he wanted to help them when they’re cold. Hunter said, “When we’re all cold they have to be really cold!” Kiser said he has always been a big hearted boy who wants to help people.
Hunters’ parents tried to make the project more tangible for him so he could see the impact he is making. After the first of the New Year, they made a trip downtown where Hunter could give a blanket to each homeless person he saw.
According to Kiser, they are amazed the project grew as much as it did this year. Next December the plan may include hats and gloves as well.