Hundreds of Horryites will be warmer and will sleep more comfortably this year, thanks to the Horry County Sheriff’s Foundation and employees of the Sheriff’s Office.
Chief Deputy Sheriff Tom Fox said the idea for a blanket and pillow drive grew out of a shopping expedition that law enforcement had with area children.
Sheriff’s officials knew they had to step in when one child decided to pass over toys to buy a blanket and pillow, because his family didn’t have them.
As of Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office was overflowing with about 330 blankets and 195 pillows, and Fox was expecting more because they aren’t cutting off collections until Monday.
Fox expects the final total to be about half of what it was Tuesday.
The group planned to take its first load to the Horry County Schools District Office Wednesday where principals were set to pick them up and take them to their schools. They will provide them to children now and throughout the winter as they see the need.
Fox said he was shocked at how generous people have been and how many blankets and pillows have come in.
The chief deputy said Sheriff Phillip Thompson, department spokesperson Brooke Holden and Linda Johnson, a member of the Sheriff’s Foundation made a presentation to the school board Monday night.
“It wasn’t a hard sell,” he said.
Fox said he thinks the blanket and pillow idea was a good one because there are many reputable organizations collecting toys for children for Christmas, but not as many working on blankets and pillows.
“I can’t express how grateful the Sheriff’s Foundation is for the support that we received from the community,” he said, adding that the support has come from far outside of the local area from people who follow the Sheriff’s Office on social media.
“We have people coming all the way in from Maryland delivering blankets,” he said.
He admits that accepting, organizing and transporting the donations has been a true task.
“It’s a lot of work, but you know the only thing we have to give to others is our time, talent and treasures, and there’s no better time than Christmas,” he said.
Conwayite Linda Johnson, a 12-year member of the Sheriff’s Foundation, said the foundation has long spearheaded coat drives, but this year decided to step out and do something different. That’s when they decided to focus on blankets and pillows.
She had 48 blankets the first day.
“Someone sent a humongous long box full of blankets yesterday,” she said earlier this week.
She’s even had someone trying to deliver donations on a Saturday when the courthouse was closed.
Teachers will give out the blankets, and the foundation has given strict instructions not to embarrass anyone.
Donations can be dropped off at the courthouse through Monday or given to a member of the Sheriff’s Foundation. Johnson says if they can’t get their donations to the proper places they can call and someone will come get them.
All donations must be new.
Johnson’s wish for the recipients is simple.
“I hope they have a warm Christmas,” she said.