Before she died of cancer in 2015 at age 16, Emily Elkins dreamed of opening a homeless shelter for children and families. That dream came true after she died, and the people who operate the shelter are asking for help to keep it going.
It all started with a stolen donation jar -- and Emily’s refusal to hate the thief.
Emily’s House, a nonprofit shelter in Rock Hill run by a volunteer board associated with Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene, has helped more than 20 families since opening in August in a donated house. A barbecue fundraiser Friday and Saturday is a way to raise money to continue helping others, said Rev. Jonathan Pannell, pastor of Emmanuel church where the fundraiser will be held.
“Emily inspired all of us. Everything we do is because she wanted to help others,” Pannell said.
Emily was diagnosed with cancer at age 13 and became a national symbol of strength and forgiveness after one of her cancer donation jars was stolen from a Rock Hill convenience store. The theft was captured on video, The Herald reported the theft and that Emily said she would have given the man the money if he needed it. Then donations poured in from all over the country. After the thief was caught, Emily only wanted to help him and others.
She used thousands in donations to help kids and the homeless. She and volunteers held toy, clothes and donation collection drives before she died. The homeless shelter was her dream that stayed with her, said her father Paul Elkins. The shelter assists those in need in Emily’s honor, Paul Elkins said.
Plates are $10. The fundraiser is at the church, 998 Dunlap Roddey Road.
Friday’s is pick up and delivery to businesses from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. Delivery is available for orders of five or more plates.
Saturday is eat in at the church or delivery from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. To order call 803-328-2134.