CLEARWATER, S.C. (AP) — If Amanda Fountain has learned anything from her own hardships, it’s that people can push through their struggles if they help each other.
Fountain, the creator of the Facebook group “Blessing One Another,” is offering her time and home to collect donations and make sure they are distributed to people in need.
“I never expected it to turn into this,” Fountain said, as she sat in her Clearwater home with piles of clothes, shoes and other donations neatly stacked around her living room.
The Facebook group was created about three months ago and has grown to more than 1,300 members. Fountain said that everyone faces obstacles at some point in their life and that she knows what it’s like to be hungry or in a tough spot. With the economy still rocky and prices for necessities steadily rising, she felt that she had to do something to help those who were struggling.
“I came from a family where we don’t have everything, but together, we have it all,” Fountain said.
The basis of the group is that, if someone needs something for themselves or their family, they can post a request on the group page. If someone has that item, they can give it to them. Items are not sold but donated. Those who have things that they’re willing to give away may also post on the group page to see if anyone needs them.
To Fountain, if a family in need of clothes, furniture or other necessities doesn’t have to buy them, that’s money that will put food on the table.
Fountain eventually opened up her home for people to drop off donations to her if they weren’t comfortable with delivering to families themselves. Fountain makes sure to distribute those items to those who need them.
Fountain said that, over the last three months, she’s seen so much kindness in the community. One story in particular sticks out in her mind.
A mother in Hephzibah, Ga., was in desperate need of baby formula and Fountain made sure she got it. A few weeks later, the same woman donated a bunch of new toys to the group. Soon after that donation came in, a local family was found trying to figure out how they were going to buy a birthday present for their child and they were delighted to discover that there were toys available through “Blessing One Another.”
Fountain herself is the mother of three children — Dylan, 9, Kailey, 5, and Brylee, 5 months. She said this group has taught her children the importance of giving to others and not expecting to get anything back in return as well as the virtue of acting out of the kindness of their own hearts.
Fountain has a supportive significant other, Josh Posey, who even made a sign for the new group to place in front of their home. He does mechanic work and offers his services to those who need help when he can.
“I couldn’t ask for a more supportive person standing behind me,” Fountain said, smiling.
The group is also not possible without those who have volunteered to help Fountain, whether it’s organizing donations or making deliveries. Those key players have been Angela Brantley Morris, Mandy Bryant and Theresa Giles.
“I created the group, but I have so many people behind the scene,” Fountain said. “Through this group, I’ve gained a family.”
Fountain hopes to do more with the group in the future and take it beyond Facebook. She dreams of purchasing a large white house that just hit the market and turning it into a place where she can feed the hungry and offer shelter to the homeless.
“I feel like this has been a dream of mine for so long and you don’t know how it’s going to happen but somehow it does. Well, I would love to take in people off the streets,” she said. “I would take the world in.”
To donate or seek donations, search for Blessing One Another on Facebook or email blessing_one_another(at)yahoo.com. For more information, call 803-221-3617.
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