HAMLET— For 10 years, one local mother has taken the phrase “pay it forward” to heart by helping other parents in similar situations.
Paula Thomas spent seven months in the Ronald McDonald House in Durham following the birth of her first child, Jada, who was born 23 weeks premature and diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
A few years later, Thomas decided to give back to the place that was a home away from home while her daughter, who is now 15, was hospitalized.
Thomas and the other members of Jada’s Helping Hands have held an annual fundraiser to benefit the Ronald McDonald House and families with young patients at Lenox Baker Children’s Hospital, Duke Children’s Health Center and Richmond County families with special needs children.
Thomas said the group recently helped the family of a local special needs child who lost power for several days following Hurricane Florence.
Each year, Thomas said Jada’s Helping Hands provides Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for a family, buys presents for all the children and gives the parent(s) a gift card to the retail store of their choice. The names of the families are provided by the school system, according to Thomas.
“It’s because of Richmond County we’re able to do what we do,” she said.
The organization also has a new website, jadashelpinghands.org, which features ways to donate or volunteer, as well as testimonials from those who have been helped.
The menu for the annual event has remained consistent over the past 10 years: hot dogs, chips, cakes, brownies and a drink.
Thomas said there will also be several “awesome” door prizes available this year, including a Duke basket and Carolina basket, as well as Tupperware and cash giveaways.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1596 U.S. 74 Business in Hamlet.
Thomas encourages all Richmond County residents to come out to help Jada’s Helping Hands help others.