Hunched down in the middle of a store aisle, Greyson Brown pulled pink and orange flashlights off the shelves.
He counted each one as he tossed it in a cart. One. Two. Three. All the way to 60.
“I found some more,” Brown said, digging through a pile.
When he finished with the flashlights, the 13-year-old moved on to other items on his list – water bottles, blankets, hats and hygiene products, among others. He didn’t stop until he had enough for 60 “Bags of Joy.”
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This is the second year Brown, who lives in Clayton, has raised money to buy supplies and food for the area’s homeless population. He raised about $60 last year, good enough for five bags that he handed out around Clayton.
This year, though, donations topped $1,000, which he said should be good enough for 60 bags. He plans to take a lot of the bags to downtown Raleigh, which has a larger homeless population.
“I’ve seen the people who are out there, and I know if I can donate a little of my time and improve their day, week or month, it’s worth it,” Brown said.
To raise more money this year, Brown visited local Rotary clubs and other civic groups to seek donations. He took the money to the local Dollar Tree, where he purchased many of the items that go in the bags.
After his shopping spree, Brown used a local karate dojo to assemble everything.
Other than getting a ride or some pointers from his parents, Brown handles pretty much the whole operation. His father, Dave, said he’s proud that his son is putting “service above self.”
“I don’t think he realized how much work would go into it, but I think he’s become appreciative of what it takes to serve others,” his father said.
As he left the Dollar Tree after this year’s shopping spree, Brown definitely had his hands full trying to wrangle three carts. But he didn’t let it get the best of him.
“This is great,” he said, loading bags into his mom, Emily’s, car. “This is really great.”