Generosity during search for Mariah Woods brings community closer together


JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - A lot of effort went into the search for three-year-old Mariah Woods last week and it took the generosity of a community to help bring everything and everyone together.

Jennifer Smith reached out to businesses in Jacksonville with the hopes of getting food and water to search teams working the Woods case. She convinced more than 20 businesses to give out of their own pockets, helping to keep the search parties in high spirits.

"Anybody who is having a horrible day knows that if you have -- hey my day was horrible, but I've got a chocolate cake waiting at home -- that type of thing just gives you something to look forward to that will make everything just a little better," Smith said.

Smith told NewsChannel reporter Nate Belt that on her first day of donations alone, she gathered about $1,000 worth of food. All in all, she estimates the community gave roughly the equivalent of $4,000 in total.

Smith had the approval of Sheriff Hans Miller to get into the command post and deliver the donations herself. She said the Sheriff couldn't express his gratitude enough for the generosity of the Jacksonville community.

Smith wasn't the only volunteer who decided to collect donations for the officials working the Woods case.

Dozens of people and businesses alike stepped up to the plate to give what they could while officials worked around the clock to find Mariah.

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