by Neig hbor Staff Neighbor Newspapers Charlie Plyler stands by a car loaded with shoeboxes to be donated to the homeless last year. / Special Photo slideshow One Buckhead boy is hoping to fill 2,000 homeless people’s hearts with love this Valentine’s Day weekend. “My dad and I were talking and said we should help them and do something for Valentine’s Day,” he said.
Valentine’s Day is not only about your girlfriend or friend it is also about your neighbors and social work. In this article you can feel the warmth of that young boy. It is a beautiful gesture to help others on that day. This is the kind of attitude we need on that day and not only the way have the businesses told us.
One Buckhead boy is hoping to fill 2,000 homeless people’s hearts with love this Valentine’s Day weekend.Charlie Plyler, 12, started Homeless at Heart, a nonprofit that donates shoeboxes filled with items to the homeless on Valentine’s Day, last year after he and his father, David, saw a homeless woman and her two children outside CNN Center in downtown Atlanta while walking back to their car after an Atlanta Hawks game in January 2015.“My dad and I were talking and said we should help them and do something for Valentine’s Day,” he said.
“We could not find any shelters or volunteer opportunities [right away] so we decided to make our own and that’s how it got started.”Said David, “He wanted to put a hand-written Valentine in there [for the woman and her children].
I knew it was a form of compassion and understanding.
Later that weekend, when we were driving to another basketball game, I said, ‘You ought to get some friends together and do this.’ His goal was to get 200 and he got about 365.”The Plylers got the shoebox idea from their experience in donating shoeboxes of items to children around the world during the holidays through Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, a Boone, North Carolina-based nonprofit.
The Homeless at Heart shoeboxes cost only $5 to fill and include two water bottles, one pair of socks, three bags of food, five to eight food bars, toiletries, Valentine Sweetheart candies, sometimes other candies and a personalized Valentine note.Many of the objects placed in the box were donated, including 1,000 boxes of the Sweetheart candies made by the New England Confectionary Co.
Charlie, a sixth-grader at Lovett, got help from his school and other metro Atlanta schools that partnered with him to collect shoeboxes.
They include Morris Brandon Elementary, which he attended last year, and Westminster, where his friend, Scott Arbery, conducted a drive called Bucks for Boxes that collected 250 boxes and $1,000.
David said there are 20,000 homeless people in metro Atlanta, so the demand for donations is high, adding 500 boxes will go to children and 400 to men.Charlie said he chose to donate the items in February for two reasons. “During Christmas and Thanksgiving, I feel like there a lot of charities that do a lot of different things and we want to be a little different than most of the charities,” he said.
“Plus Valentine’s Day is near the coldest time of year in Atlanta so we thought it was good time of year to hand them out.”Regarding the concept of Valentine’s Day donations, his father said, “It surprises people nobody had done this before.”Charlie said the response both from the homeless and from the donors has been huge, adding the shelters liked the idea and one woman he gave a box to last year immediately started telling her friends about it.“I think most of the people I have talked to about it have been interested,” he said of donors.
There is no better way of celebrating Valentins’s Day, don’t you think so?
By the way in the meantime politicians spend millions of millions of dollars for their election campaign. Why not use part of the money for a better purpose?