Young serving the homeless


Joseph Pratt

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Warning of cold weather and snow doesn’t mean much to the everyday person. Preparation can be accomplished as easily as remembering to grab that extra layer of clothing and setting your alarm a bit earlier to make it to work on time. A Portsmouth Trojan is worried about the coming winter, however. She isn’t concerned about her family or herself, but for those who don’t have homes.

Ashleigh Young, student at Portsmouth Junior High School, has taken it upon herself to prepare care packages for the multiplying homeless individuals who live on the streets of Portsmouth. Seeing so many without a place to rest at night, she brought up her concerns to her mother, Laura Winters, and the two came up with the idea to make life just a little easier on them.

The care packages contain items the two believe to be necessary for comfort in life.

The packages contain toilet paper, water, food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, gloves, soap, feminine products, healthcare needs, and more.

Some bags even contain heavy layers of clothing and jackets.

“We just want to be able to give these people who need help things they can use to survive the winter and stay warm,” Young said. “We have jackets, sweatshirts, food, and just a lot of different stuff.”

The compassionate young girl said that, of all the items she is collecting, food and clothing is probably the most important.

Young’s mission began when she and her mother stopped to give money to a veteran on a Portsmouth street corner, who was holding a sign that claimed he needed help.

“He had been there a little while and we just decided to do something about it,” Young explained. “There are many more people who need help.”

Young said that she and her mother will be gifting 20 care packages filled with supplies at the end of November.

“What I’m doing makes me feel pretty good,” Young claimed. “It makes me feel happy to give back and to know I’m helping other people.”

When asked about donations, Young explained that there isn’t a place for donations to be dropped off, but she and her mother have been collecting from friends and family. Area businesses have also stepped up to help out. The bags that will hold all the supplies are being donated by CVS Pharmacy.

“After my daughter had me drive around the block to give a homeless man some money, because she felt like the Lord has put it on her heart to help those in need, I knew we had to make a difference,” Laura Winters, mother of Young, said. “I’m proud of her for following what is in her heart, and I’m thankful for all of the local donations from friends and businesses.”

Portsmouth High School Principal Amy Hughes also had positive remarks on Young.

“In every community, there is work to be done. I am proud of Ashleigh for having the leadership qualities to get something done. She started the donations for the homeless in her language arts class and she continues to donate to the community,” Hughes said. “Ashleigh is only a 7th grader and we can already see what a bright future she has.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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Submitted photo Ashleigh Young taking count of her donations photo Ashleigh Young taking count of her donations

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