"This is actually my seventh year doing this," Rogers said. "In the beginning I just wanted to collect blankets because I knew that there was a great need for blankets. But, just within seven years, I've realized that there was a greater need than blankets. So I've ran into a lot of people who need coats for their kids [such as] single parents who just can't afford to buy their kids clothing or coats for the changing of the season. And I was that single mom for nine years so I know.
"And [there is a need for] things like hats and gloves and scarves because it's freezing and people are walking around and people don't have anything on their ears, on their kids' ears, on their hands. [There is] just such a great need here in Cartersville. And there's people who are living outside in tents. There's tent communities here in this very small town where we are well capable of providing for. Whether we're single parents, whether we're a single-mother household, we still are able. The small things that we do can help someone."
Officially formed in October 2007, Blankets of Hope is an offshoot of her father's Dr. Moore's Hope House Inc., which operates shelters for men and women in Cartersville.
To donate items, individuals need to call Rogers at 678-899-0921 to arrange a pick-up time. The materials are dispersed to people in need, ranging from single-parent households to homeless shelters and tent communities. In addition to collecting coats, blankets and winter-clothing accessories, Rogers also is organizing a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 521 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Cartersville. For this outreach offering, she is seeking tangible donations for the event's menu of soup, chili, desserts, hot chocolate, coffee and tea.
"I actually had a vision," Rogers said about forming Blankets of Hope. "God gave me a vision because I had a desire to help people but I didn't have much because I was a single mother. I didn't have a car and was serving tables. I didn't have much, but I wanted to give back still.
"At the time I was serving tables at Red Lobster and to begin that vision I just began to take tip money and I was going to buy a blanket every time I had a little money. ... So I just started out like that and it just got way big. One blanket turned into 10 blankets. And especially after I put it in the paper, I had a really good response from the community."
This year, Rogers is teaming up with Helping Hands Ministry's Danette Hayes, who is trying to meet the personal hygiene needs of financially struggling residents. Collecting items year-round, Hayes is seeking materials such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner.
"There is most definitely a need. [Visiting the tent community] was a reality check," Hayes said, adding she and Rogers went to the Cartersville site on Saturday. "It made me personally realize how blessed a lot of us are when you actually see it for yourself. We hear about it but when you're actually there and you see it for yourself, you know that there is a need.
"She actually asked [a man] what was his biggest need and he said a change of clothes because he hadn't changed clothes in two weeks. And that was like, 'Wow.' I'm thinking, 'Here we are [with] closets full of clothes -- one and two closets full of clothes.' And his biggest need was a change of clothes."
Hayes will distribute the items "anywhere there's a need," listing Bartow County sites like the Hope House shelters and the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter.
"I just have a passion for people," she said. "I feel like this is something that we all should do. We all should be willing to give back to the community
For more information about Hayes' ministry or to donate items, call 404-717-6882.