Coastal Virginia Magazine's Giving Back Awards 2014, 2015, and 2016

Coastal Virginia Magazine recently revealed the winners for their annual
Giving Back Awards, and Mariah's organization, Blankets for the Homeless,
was recognized once again after being voted #1 in 2014.

The awards aim to highlight the real superheroes across Coastal Virginia that work tirelessly to address the needs of the community and the people in it. After a nomination period and a series of online voting rounds, Blankets for the Homeless was voted #2 in our region for the 2015 year. Special thanks to Coastal Virginia Magazine's publisher, Randy Thompson; editor and chief, Melissa Stewart; Creative Director, Dave Uhrin; Videographer, Chris Conway; and everyone who voted for Blankets for the Homeless in the 2014 Giving Back Awards. We are appreciative of all those who help spread the word and bring awareness to the community about the homeless. We also want to congratulate all of the other non-profits who work endlessly for their cause to make a positive impact.

CoVa Giving Back Awards 2015

What is the most rewarding part about what your non-profit does? < br/> “It is bittersweet helping the homeless because it’s hard to see the way that they’re living, but it’s also a blessing to know that we’re making some sort of a difference in their lives. It’s just the most remarkable thing for them, and that makes everything worthwhile for us.”

Humanitarian Award

NewsChannel 3 along with our community partner Southern Bank, honored 12 previous recipients from the past year who had the highest online views on our website. The winner of the 2015 humanitarian award Mariah Smith who founded the group Blankets for the Homeless received a $1,000 check from Southern Bank for her charity.

The Hampton Roads Show Video 2015

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Founder Mariah Smith and her mother, Moira Askew talked about Blankets for the Homeless. Mariah started the organization when she was just 17 years old. She and her mother distribute blankets, clothes, toiletries and anything else that is needed to the homeless of Hampton Roads. They go out at all hours of the day and night when called for help. Also, Mariah told us, she was once homeless. When she was born, 21 years ago, she was abandoned by her birth mother. Moira Askew and her husband adopted Mariah when she was two years old.

Blanket Girl' hopes her heartwarming mission will spread this Christmas

Twenty years after she was born and abandoned on Christmas Eve, Mariah Smith is working to warm the hearts and spirits of those in need this holiday season, earning the nickname "Blanket Girl."

Smith, the founder of Blankets for the Homeless, started her mission at the age of 17, after an encounter in a parking lot left a lasting impression. She saw a homeless man coughing and shivering, and, wanting to do something to ease his discomfort, gave him a blanket from her car and offered her the food she had just bought.