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Cornelius News

Emily Paton: A portrait in serving others


Emily and her mother Ellen Paton

May 12. Emily Paton, a graduating high school senior who will attend Davidson College this fall, has a passion for helping people.

The 18-year-old is excited about lending a hand through the  twice weekly food, supply and sandwich drives she started about a month ago and hopes Peninsula residents will help her in the cause.

She is making her latest collection for Urban Ministry Center tomorrow May 13 at some homes off Jetton Road, and she has another drive planned for the Harbor Light area later this week.

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She was attending St. Andrew’s School, a boarding school in Delaware until the pandemic brought her home. Her family recently moved from Chicago to the Captains Watch neighborhood in The Peninsula.

Every week Paton organizes two drives, one for Brookstone Schools’ food bank and one for Urban Ministry Center. She drops off flyers in the mailbox trays of the streets she’s targeted, asking that families leave donations by their mailboxes at a specific time and date.

“Any size donation is appreciated. I come around a few days later and pick up donations and drive them to uptown,” Paton say.

Compelled to help others

The pandemic motivated her to organize these efforts.

“Not being able to go back to boarding school and graduate is really hard for me, so by organizing two drives weekly, I’ve rekindled a sense of purpose, and tried to imagine responding to the pandemic in a way that my school would want me to,” Paton says.

“Being a pandemic, every day my family reminds ourselves how grateful we are for what we have and also reminds ourselves of the difficult situations of many Americans, many of whom live right by us,” Paton says. She is the daughter of Chris and Ellen Paton.

Paton says she  found Urban Ministry by looking online for homeless shelters in Charlotte.

Her parents  volunteer at Brookstone Schools in Charlotte during the school year as “lunch buddies” and each  mentor a student.

“Whenever I go to Urban Ministry, the residents and volunteers alike are so friendly, helpful, and always make my day.

“My food and supplies drive is something that I plan on continuing as long as the pandemic exists and I am home from school,” Paton says.

Want to help?

If you have any questions, want to donate or participate, email Emily Paton at emilypaton2020@gmail.com.