The cold might not bother Disney's Queen Elsa, but record low temperatures are wreaking havoc in Dixie this year. Temperatures have plummeted across the Southeast this week as some parts of the country experienced the coldest weather since records began. As we move into February and temperatures continue to drop, some Bibb County students will not be ready. It is hard to imagine a child standing at the bus stop without a coat on to keep them warm; but unfortunately it happens everyday in Macon.
Since 2013, Macon pharmaceutical representative Hope Hahn Shields has raised funds among her Facebook friends and co-workers to donate winter weather gear for a class of kids at Jesse Rice Elementary, a school in Macon’s Bloomfield neighborhood where nearly all of the students come from low-income families.
During this last three years, Mrs. Shields has been able to donate coats, hats and gloves to many other children in Bibb county schools including Morgan Elementary and Macon Charter Academy.
In just one month, Shields has raised money to purchase 163 coats, 140 pairs of gloves, 119 hats and 71 hat and glove sets, but there are plenty more who are in need.
Photo Credit - Hope Hahn Shields
The story of why Shields bought the winter gear actually began with a news story she heard on Macon's GPB radio and NPR picked up a version of that story and ran it in a national newscast. “That is how it started,” Shields said. She started chatting with her brother’s fiancé, Summer Wellborn, who teaches at Rice Elementary. “I just asked her what they needed. Could I buy them some scarves and some hats … it seemed like all 27 of those children (in Wellborn’s class) could use something.” Realizing that the job might be too big for one person, Shields posted online, asking if anyone might kick in some money for the cause. “Facebook just really blew up,” Shields said. With the money she raised via PayPal and with a few in-person checks, Shields went shopping Wednesday afternoon and purchased hats and gloves for all 17 boys and 10 girls in the class, as well as coats for seven students who lacked them. Shields then personally delivered the goods to Wellborn’s class. “This one child just tugged on me and he’s like, ‘Ms. Hope, thank you so much for my coat.’ And I leaned down and I kissed him on the nose and I said ‘you are welcome,’” Shields said, tearing up. “I said ‘you stay warm, ok?’” Wellborn told Shields that every student in the class wore their hats and gloves back to school on Thursday. Shields hopes her act of kindness will inspire others to do the same. “It was no big deal to do this,” she said. “I had donations as little as $10.00 and as much as $100.00.” “We’ve got to take care of these children,” Shields said.
Photo Credit - Hope Hahn Shields
While many children have benefited from Mrs. Hahn's generous heart, there is still more who are in need of warm coats, hats and mittens. Please consider helping Shields provide Bibb county children in need with a warm coat this year.
Because many families in Bibb County are currently living with lower incomes, parents are having to decide between paying their bills and buying food for their families; most of the times, a coat is a something they simply cannot afford. Your donation will have an immediate impact on those in need and will help Bibb county students get one step closer to a warm coat this winter! If you would like to help provide a warm coat, gloves and/or a hat to a needy child in Bibb county, please click HERE to donate via PayPal. You can send money safely and securely through PayPal to Hope Shields by clicking on the send tab and entering [email protected] in the email or phone number box that will appear on the top of the page.
posted 05/01/2017 in