Move-out bags help Wesley Shelter clients

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Wesley Shelter clients received a bounty of blessings thanks to an organization and dozens of volunteers.

Triangle-based ReachOut N.C., an LGBTQ support and advocacy group, coordinated the service project and assembled move-out bags for women and children who have encountered domestic violence and are transitioning from Wesley Shelter into their next home.

“They went above and beyond our expectations,” said Lynne White, the shelter’s executive director. “So many thoughtful gifts that will help our clients and our budget in so many ways.”

ReachOut N.C. collaborated with Winstead United Methodist Church, West Nash United Methodist Church, various community members and Barton students who are a part of the Spectrum club. Michael Wilson, founder of ReachOut, said the project was a huge success.

“We are so grateful for all the support and donations,” said Wilson, who is originally from here.

The groups met April 6 at Barton College and assembled 69 move-out bags, created 25 homemade fleece blankets and wrote dozens of inspirational cards and painted dozens of “kindness rocks.”

“The inspirational messages will mean the world to our survivors,” White said.

White said the bags for mothers included towels, sheets and home goods. Participants also donated an abundance of air pumps to blow up inflatable mattresses that clients receive when they move out and don’t have their bedding yet, she said. The children’s outreach bags were also a treasure, White added. Those bags included stuffed animals, books, school supplies and other items. Various toiletry items were also included in the kits.

Wilson said ReachOut’s mission is to provide volunteer, social and leadership opportunities for LGBTQ people and their allies. While the organization has done various projects in the Triangle area, he wanted to expand that outreach to his hometown.

Wilson said various groups came together to benefit a worthy cause. He said there was a lot of gratitude extended and Wilson community members showed just how accepting they are to the LGBTQ community.

One of the project’s goals was to bring church members, students, youth and the LGBTQ community together while giving back to a worthy cause. Wilson said participants received more donations than they anticipated, which showed him just how committed the community is to helping others.

“We are hoping to keep the momentum going and plan on doing future projects in Wilson,” he said.

White said the Wesley Shelter, a United Way agency, is grateful for a such wide-reaching volunteer project.

“We could not begin to do all that we do without the support of our generous community,” she said.