Home Sweet Home: Woman donates tent full of memories to local homeless ministry

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A tent, a Facebook post, and a woman with a heart for the homeless is going viral.

New mother and Pennsylvania native Lauren Soose is new to the area, moving down just after her mom passed away.

The two used to camp every summer, using a tent that helped them make lasting memories. Soose found that tent while unpacking and posted pictures to a Wilmington Facebook page asking where to donate it. She hoped it would continue to house good memories for others.

“My mom was always afraid to get rid of stuff,” said Soose. “So I think this would mean a lot to her that I’m not throwing it away, but giving it away to someone who could still use it.”

The post reached hundreds, with several suggesting homeless camps and local non-profits. In the end, she donated it to First Fruit Ministries, who said tents like these are some people’s only source of security.

“I’ll go into camps where their tent’s been stolen or they don’t have a tent, and they’ll literally be rolled up in a tarp during a rain storm,” said First Fruit CEO, Rick Stoker. “That sounds kind of crazy, but that’s maybe all the cover some people have.”

Stoker continued, saying Soose’s tent could shelter an entire homeless community, fitting in up to nine people.

According to one homeless woman, tents sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

“There’s people out there that sleep outside everyday, every night. And it gets cold. So they actually will save somebody’s life,” said Shawna Person, who slept in a tent for some time.

Person said kindness like Soose’s donation can encourage homeless men and women to get the help they need.

“You know, knowing that somebody cares, helps somebody to have a positive attitude so they can get back on their feet,” said Person.

Though men and women like Soose often don’t get to see the impact donations can make, Soose hoped donating the ten full of memories of her mom will teach her children to be kind to people of all walks of life.

“Unfortunately not everyone is willing to give a second chance,” reflected Soose. “I think we need to focus more on helping those in need, you know, instead of judging.”

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