By Mike Schuh

SEVERN, Md. (WJZ)— Oftentimes a tragedy helps focus one’s desire to do works of charity.

As Mike Schuh reports, that’s what happened to a family in Anne Arundel County. But wait until you meet who spearheaded their efforts.

At 9, Lauren Hontz remembers the day when her life changed.

“It was just the most horrific thing you’ve ever seen. I mean it’s your home. It’s your life,” said Jennifer Hontz, Lauren’s mother.

In July, their home in Severn burned. Everything inside was gone.

Lauren remembers what those first few days were like, and now she’s stuffing suitcases full of blankets, nightlights and children’s books–the comforts she missed while waiting for her normal life to return.

“A toy, a notebook, shampoo, conditioner, soap,” Lauren Hontz said. “Try to give them to families after fires, like blankets, stuffed animals and kind of the essentials, what would have been really helpful that first night.”

“You know, she lost everything,” Jennifer Hontz said. “She didn’t have a whole lot to give, but she was willing to give what she had.”

She calls this Lauren’s Luggage. It’s all donated to her or picked up from Goodwill.

Lauren Hontz drops her luggage at fire halls. They, in turn, give them to families as soon as the flames are out.

“We’re very proud of what you’re doing, and we’re very proud here at station 17 to be a part of what you’re doing,” said Tom Best, Arnold volunteer firefighter.

Such kindness not only helps other fire victims, it’s helping her to heal.

“Because it just feels nice giving people stuff and helping them out. That’s just a nice feeling,” Lauren Hontz said.

She says people will donate items after contacting her on her Facebook page. It’s called Lauren’s Luggage.


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