On a cold and icy night last month, 7-year-old Carson Hollingsworth huddled under his favorite blanket as he got ready for bed.
It is a great blanket with sports stuff on it – basketballs and soccer balls and footballs. Yes, Carson is all boy.
But before Beth and Brian Hollingsworth kissed the younger of their two sons good night that Friday night, Carson asked a simple question: “How do all those people who don’t have blankets or a house keep warm tonight?”
“I was all snuggly and warm,” the second-grader at Old Pointe Elementary School in Rock Hill recalled, “and all I could think about was there are people who weren’t all snuggly and warm.”
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His parents, both teachers, told him there are people who have no blankets or roofs or houses. Some people fight off the cold with only prayer, they said.
Carson said that is not right, then he said a prayer for those people and fell into a troubled sleep.
By the next day, Carson had an idea. He would collect blankets to keep people warm. He talked it over with his parents.
“Carson’s Covers” was born.
“He wanted to do this,” his father said. “He’s the inspiration.”
Carson’s mother said she would help organize the effort, but Carson wanted to start the drive himself. Older brother Griffin a few years ago had collected clothes for the poor.
In this family, a kid with an idea is nurtured.
The family asked their pastor, the Rev. Pam Ledbetter at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Rock Hill, if Carson could collect through the church. Ledbetter said “absolutely,” and the church’s missions team became involved. Notice was put out at church.
Blankets came in that first Sunday, Feb. 1. A bunch of them. The blankets fill a big box. Piled atop each other, the blankets are almost as tall as Carson.
“It feels pretty good that people would want to help,” he said.
Carson is surely one of the youngest people in York County collecting stuff to help people he might never meet. He is tender and tough and a guy’s guy. After recess he looks like he swam in dirt.
He replies swiftly at age 7 if he has a girlfriend.
“No,” Carson said.
He replies even more quickly when asked if he likes girls.
“No,” Carson said.
But he does like helping people.
Word has gotten around at Old Pointe Elementary, the same school where his mother teaches kindergarten. Other teachers are helping collect “Carson’s Covers.”
“Maybe I can get enough for everybody who needs a blanket,” Carson said.
Nobody can tell him he can’t.