by Lisa Tome
This time of year, most children are thinking about what they are going to get for Christmas.
Rising Sun Elementary School fourth grader Alyssa Jackson, 9, is excited about what she'll receive on December 25. But her current focus is what she'll give before Christmas.
Jackson, with help from her mother, Theresa, is working to provide for the homeless this Christmas. Alyssa was in North East a few weeks ago when she saw a man that she believes was homeless. That's when she decided she'd put together care packages, what she's calling Blessing Bags, to give to those in need.
The bags contain tissues, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, shampoo and conditioner, soap, socks, a hat, gloves, scarves, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and small treats such as fruit snacks or individual applesauces or fruit cups or packs of cheese or peanut butter crackers.
"I just wanted to do it so they would have something," Alyssa said. She is also hoping to include inexpensive toys in Blessing Bags for children.
Alyssa said she doesn't want her whole school to know about her work. But she did tell her teacher Natalie Finley about her outside of school project. "She's (Finley) helping pets in need," said Alyssa.
The family lives in downtown Rising Sun. Theresa Jackson is spreading the word via facebook about Alyssa's work. That has yielded some donations of items such as cash and gift cards, which she will use to buy what is needed. "She has such a loving, caring heart and I am so very proud of what she is doing," said Theresa Jackson.
She's also accepting any of the items, including the small shampoo and soaps, which one gets while staying at hotels. Anyone who would like to help may call Theresa Jackson at 443-350-5476. They hope to finish the bags by mid December but Alyssa may extend the project beyond the holidays.
She will distribute her goods at the Paris Foundation in Elkton.
Her stepfather, Walter Thomas, is also helping out. Thomas will keep some of Alyssa's bags in his car to give away. "It will make them happy," added Alyssa.