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People Taking Action: Local teens helping homeless girls and women

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Posted at 11:31 PM, Apr 27, 2021

HAMPTON, Va. - The home of Maria Karhnak had a few extra items bagged up, occupying an area just beyond the front door.

"We have a collected total of about 415 different types of pads, tampons and gently used bras that we collected over two weeks," she explained.

Soon, the Hampton High School student would join others to help load these bags of essential items into her brother's car to be dropped off to help girls and women facing homelessness.

It's the result of donation drives at Hampton High School, organized by some of the students in the school's rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program. It was Maria who got the ball rolling.

"And I thought it would be a good idea for something to talk about it in school and open up to a larger crowd of people," she said.

It mushroomed into a community service project, collecting various hygiene products and underwear for girls and women in need. Fellow student Logan Murray was glad to take part.

"So, to be able to help women who are homeless that are in shelters and things like that is a very good thing to help with."

Ashley Brown was in charge of social media for this school project.

"I did do a lot of research into it, and I found some really shocking numbers that I wasn't aware of, so being part of this project I think is going to extend my want to serve people for like, long-term," Ashley said.

Students like Paul Karhnak didn't know what to expect doing this donation drive in the middle of a pandemic.

"But given safety concerns, health concerns right now, I didn't think we would get as many people as we did, and we certainly did," Paul said. "So, that was - I was taken aback in a very positive manner at how involved again the community was."

One of the moms, LaRaine Murry, contacted us to share what these students were up to.

"It was important for me to contact you guys about this because these are amazing young people. These guys have it in their minds that they can make a difference in areas I never even thought of. They make me so proud; they make me want to be a better person," LaRaine said.

Related: Head of local charity leads the way to help people get back on their feet

The students tell us this group project was in support of an international organization called "I Support The Girls," which helps collect and distribute hygiene products and underwear for homeless women and girls.

For those reasons, News 3 presented the students with a People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.