HAMLET — For 10 years, Paula Thomas has been helping families with special-needs children because she knows the struggle firsthand.
Her daughter, Jada, was born 23 weeks early weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces; diagnosed with cerebral palsy; and prone to seizures, which land her in the hospital quite often. Thomas spent seven months at the Ronald McDonald House in Durham when her daughter was born.
In 2008, Jada became sick again and was in the intensive care unit for a week when Thomas said she heard the Holy Spirit tell her to “give back” and to help others going through similar situations. Her first time giving back was through a fundraiser she planned in three weeks, which led to the creation of Jada’s Helping Hands Helping Others.
The organization raises money to donate to the Ronald McDonald House, Duke Health’s Lenox Baker’s Children’s Hospital, Duke Children’s Hospital and families in Richmond County with special-needs children.
“This is to show families that there is someone here to help and has been where they are,” Thomas said.
Through the organization, Thomas and her donors are able provide two families in Richmond County with hot meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as gifts from a “wish list.”
Because this is the 10th year for the organization and its fundraising effort, Thomas said she wanted to do something big: to try to raise enough money to name a room at the Ronald McDonald House in honor of daughter, Jada, now 15.
The organization will hold its annual fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. It will sell hot dogs, baked goods and beverages, and will give away door prizes, including Duke and Carolina baskets, Tupperware and cash giveaways.
The organization’s website, www.jadashelpinghands.org, features ways to donate and includes testimonials from those who have been helped in the past.
“We just ask people to come out and donate,” Thomas said.
Reach Jasmine Hager at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]