Michigan teen helps homeless during coronavirus pandemic by selling coffee
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Not even the coronavirus pandemic can stop this Michigan teen from stepping up to help.
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In 2015, Samuel VerHage, from Van Buren County, started Samuel’s Blankets, an organization that collects blankets and gives them to people in need. He was only 9 years old at the time.
These days, the now 14-year-old is raising money by selling coffee.
Sam recently shared his story with a local TV station, starting with how he got the idea for his blanket drive.
"I saw some homeless people sleeping on a bench, and I thought to myself, 'They might be cold in the winter,'” Sam told West Michigan television station WWMT-TV.
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Since then, Samuel’s Blankets has set up drop boxes in local businesses where people can donate blankets that the group hands out.
Last year, Samuel’s Blankets collected and handed out 4,296 blanets.
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However, once the pandemic hit, the teen knew Samuel’s Blanket had to change gears a bit.
"We weren't going to be able to put the big drop boxes in the businesses and take the used blankets like we had in the past,” Sam’s mother Denise told WWMT.
“We weren't comfortable with it, and we knew the businesses wouldn't be comfortable with it. We didn't even want to ask them to do that,” she added.
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As a solution, Sam teamed up with local coffee shop Van Buren Coffee Company to raise money by selling a special “Blanket Blend” of coffee.
"I think every family at some point or another has fallen on hard times,” Van Buren Coffee’s owner, Josh Gettig, told WWMT. “If we can just be a small little catalyst to help those people.”
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According to the TV station, Samuel’s Blankets will receive $4 for every bag of the “Blanket Blend” that is sold through Dec. 5.