When 14-year-old Bailee Miller visited the New Visions Homeless Shelter in Camden with the rest of her confirmation class last year, it turned out to be more than just a simple field trip.
During a tour of the shelter, she noticed an abundance of clothing and mentioned this to the director, said Bailee’s mother, Desiree.
“He said, ‘This time of year, we’re getting a lot of requests for hooded sweatshirts, and that’s what we don’t have,’” recalled Desiree.
Turns out, that’s all Bailee needed to hear.
“It’s really sad,” she said, “and I thought I would do anything I could do to help.”
The teenager—with the help of her younger sister, Kylee, and the rest of her family—set out to collect warm winter clothes for the shelter, utilizing all the technology at her disposal to get the word out: She texted and emailed friends and posted requests for donations on Facebook. She even went the more traditional route and printed flyers and passed them out in her neighborhood.
In the end, she collected close to 1,000 items for the shelter.
The Millers ran the clothing drive again this year, collecting even more items based on Desiree’s estimation. By Thursday evening, the family’s three-car garage was nearly half full of all manner of winter weather apparel: gloves, hoodies, caps, boots, blankets, etc.
“People were dropping off stuff, I didn’t even know who they were,” said Desiree.
“Every day when we’d come home, there’d be more stuff,” said Kylee.
Bailee, Kylee, and the rest of the Miller family will return to New Visions in February, Desiree said, to cook dinner for the residents at the shelter.
Anyone who wants to lend a hand can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to help. “I’m super proud of them,” Desiree said of her daughters.