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Blankets for the Homeless in Hampton Roads

Blankets for the Homeless, a Heartwarming Story

A young woman in Hampton Roads took her personal history and decided to give back by founding Blankets for the Homeless in 2011.

Mariah Smith’s Story

Mariah Smith was born 22 years ago on Christmas Eve and was abandoned.  Her Foster mother, Moira Askew ended up adopting her.  Ms. Askew obviously did a great job with her daughter.  In 2011 Mariah saw a need and set to work to solve the problem.  She founded her ministry: Blankets for the Homeless.  Since then she travels around Hampton Roads.  She picks up blankets, coats, hats, mittens, food and anything else she thinks the homeless can use to make their lives better and a measure easier.  She has spoken to companies, churches, schools etc. to raise awareness for her cause.  Her van drives around the area with her logo and phone number emblazoned on the windows.  You can contact Mariah by calling 434-4543.  Even just one blanket is worth donating.  You don’t have to come up with dozens and dozens.Chesapeake VA, Chesapeake Virginia, Norfolk VA, Norfolk Virginia

Who Has Helped

Every time someone donates, Ms. Askew takes photos and updates their Face Book page. Places as disparate as Alpha Phi Omega at Christopher Newport University, United Presbyterian Ministry at Old Dominion, Kempsville Elementary Dodge Ball Tournament, Channel 13 News Daybreak, The 700 Club on CBN and Stand Up for Kids have organized various activities to help Mariah’s cause.  United Auto Wholesalers LLC has donated all repairs to the Blankets for the Homeless van.

Donation Locations

There are many collection locations around the area.  Some of them are Kempsville Elementary School,  Redmill Elementary School, Virginia Freewill Baptist Church, Back on the Rack Thrift Store, The Royal Chocolate in Town Center, Simply Chic Salon on Princess Anne Road, and Smoked From Above in Landstown Commons.

One of my hobbies is knitting and I am rather OCD about it.  If I am sitting, I am knitting!  I show the afghans I knit at craft shows in the Fall and after the shows are over, I donate the remainder to Blankets for the Homeless.  The past several years I have donated about 15 to 20 handcrafted blankets to this marvelous charity.  I hope you will find some unused blankets or perhaps a bag filled with toiletries to donate.  Mariah will certainly be thankful!

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Editor’s Note:  We originally published this article in December 2013.  We have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.




  1. What a wonderful undertaking – it seems to have struck a chord with many people. How many times do we pass a homeless person with his or her sign and wonder how to help them? So often our concern over abetting a drug or alcohol problem prevents any action. Blankets and some warm winter clothing surely will go far to offer ‘a measure of help’. Glad to see the acceptance and success of her efforts!