Abygail Buchanan, 13, of Florence, Mississippi, a member of Rankin County 4-H and an eighth-grader at Florence Middle School, helped lead a local drive that collected more than 1,800 toiletries and other personal care items to fill tote bags for veterans experiencing homelessness. When Abygail was asked by her 4-H extension agent to serve as a lead ambassador for the county 4-H participation in the Red Cross’s Totes of Hope campaign, she immediately said yes. “I have family members that are veterans and their service means the world to me,” she said. “I felt this was a great way to show my support and gratitude to the veterans that have served our country.”
As an ambassador, Abygail joined a team that set up two drive-through sites for community members to drop off donated items, and promoted the collection effort on social media. They then gathered up and sorted all of the donations – including things like soap, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, puzzle books and socks – and packaged them in zippered tote bags. In the end, 47 “totes of hope” were made available to veterans through VA hospitals or veterans outreach programs.