STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) — For this week’s Hometown Hero, we highlight owner and founder of Comfort and Hope, Wanda Marland, who has been providing comfort blankets and birthday bags to those in need since 2005.

Marland, of Struthers, has selflessly dedicated 17 years of her life to helping those in need.

In 2005, she created a nonprofit organization aimed to make those in need feel a little less lonely and a lot more loved.

The mission of her organization is to provide a birthday bag to each local child in foster care and comfort blankets to those going through difficult situations.

The program started as a three-month trial. Since then, the demand for birthday bags and comfort blankets has exploded.

Comfort and Hope works with a few local children services, including Trumbull and Mahoning counties

In 2022 alone, Marland has provided up to 600 birthday bags and comfort blankets to foster kids. All of this would not be possible without the work of her volunteer team

“They are the real key. I could not do this on my own — it’s all about these people that help. There are so many of them that I couldn’t count, and they are all different ages,” Marland says.

Each birthday bag is filled with a comfort blanket, books, makeup, toys and more.

Marland says she has enjoyed every minute of this experience and wishes she could do more.

“I can always use donations, especially. Money is good, but also time and talent, I have had so many people donate things that I wouldn’t think of,” Marland says.

When asked why she does it, Marland says it’s simply out of the goodness of her heart.