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Howard County Teen Creates Sweater Giveaway For Needy

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Mike Schuh 370x278 Mike Schuh
Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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FULTON, Md. (WJZ)—Though Census figures show Maryland to be the most affluent state in the country, nearly 10 percent of our population lives in poverty.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a Howard County teen saw the need to get good, warm  and most importantly,  free clothing to those in need.

In the rush between classes at Reservoir High, senior Ryan Merenbloom has more on his mind than just the next class.

“I want to share my love of supporting the community with them,” he said.

A few years ago, he volunteered at a soup kitchen. He saw people who were not only hungry but cold.

Nowadays, bins and bags cover one-quarter of his family’s garage.

“So this is actually our temporary storage,” Merenbloom said.

It’s just a small part of his big idea.

“He had a question that couldn’t be answered so he created the answer,” said Paul Merenbloom, Ryan’s dad.

His solution to those cold people he saw in line was to give them a sweater.

Thrift stores sell sweaters. Ryan Merenbloom gives them away.

“There’s all this stuff sitting in the thrift stores and I’m sure it’s not because it’s not wanted, they can’t get it, they can’t afford it,” Ryan Merenbloom said.

So he, his dad and friends left a kitchen bag and a letter asking for sweaters on hundreds of doors. More than 5,000 sweaters have poured in along with notes of encouragement.

It’s all from a high school student with a good idea.

“My dad sat me down at an early age and said we may have things that other people don’t so we don’t know what the future holds so we need to help people while we can help people,” he said.

“But you look at what he’s doing, you look at the efforts going out on a cold Sunday afternoon, he’s gone out in the rain, maintaining a web site, and still getting good grades, I’ve got nothing but pride,” Paul Merenbloom.

Ryan Merenbloom’s working on  setting up a collection at his school, and his website shows others anywhere how to copy his success.

“As well as it’s working now, I really want to see it go viral,” he said.

At that point, dad may need to look at finding a bigger garage.

A national retailer is talking with Ryan Merenbloom about supporting his idea.  To visit his website, click here.

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