ANDERSON, Ind. — “She makes me very proud," Rayann Loyd's mother, Samatha, said. "We’ve been blessed with such a good kid.”
Rayann and her mom pack backpacks full of toys, toiletries and more and donate them to children in need.
“We kind of wanted to help all kids, give them something, so we were thinking shelters, kids going into foster care, maybe kids who are underserved," said Samantha Loyd.
The idea came to 7-year-old Rayann after reading a story in a children’s magazine about a Girl Scout troop doing something similar.
“Once I was done with the article she said, ‘mama I want to do that.’ I honestly started to tear up," said Samantha. "I was very proud, and I was like, let’s get on that then.”
The first place they donated was the Sexual Assault Trauma Center in Anderson.
Program Director Holly Renz says the backpacks help the children she sees come through her center tremendously.
“It’s really important. When they’re leaving their home, their mom and dad, they have to leave their home because of the circumstances," said Renz. "They’re going into somebody else’s home and they’re little and they’re trying to navigate the whole system. They’ve got something to hang onto and something to call their own.”
The Ray’s Journey Packs movement has even picked up steam in the community.
“My friends in my class were saying, ‘Can I help you with the backpacks?’ My teacher was proud of me for doing it when I was at school before," said Rayann. "She, like, called me up to her desk and gave me money for the backpacks.”
“I made a little flyer and asked people if they wanted to help and I thought five people or so would want to help out, and then before we knew it, after two weeks, we had $2,700 in donations," said Samantha. "Our community, my employer, her school, just everyone. It’s been emotionally overwhelming, in a good way, to see all the people who want to help out.”
Samantha and Rayann say they've donated over 80 backpacks since this began in late April.