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That’s a great idea

WINSTON-SALEM – James Jenkins knows a thing or two about carrying packages.

As a 17-year veteran employee of United Parcel Service (UPS), the Ahoskie native, now living in Winston-Salem, has handled more packages than he probably cares to count.

But he’s not the only one to battle that everyday chore.

To help ease the cumbersome task of trying to hold several bags at the same time, Jenkins came up an idea. His creation, one he tinkered with in a friend’s garage, has landed him a spot on “Everyday Edisons” – a nationally syndicated television series that airs on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).

“Bag Buddy” was crafted by Jenkins as a hands-free alternative that will be beneficial to both delivery men and shoppers on the go. His invention eases the pain of carrying several weighty bags at once while featuring a shoulder strap with hooks for securing each bag by its handles.

“You just simply attach the bags to the device and use the shoulder strap to free your hands from carrying all those bags at once,” Jenkins said. “It’s especially handy if you have small children with you while shopping because it frees up your hands to keep them on your children while in a crowded store or mall.”

Jenkins knows all too well about having to keep-up with children. He and his wife, Regina, are the parents of three – Jewell, 13, Angell, 12, and Josiah, 9.

“Everyday Edisons” chronicles modern inventors and the development of their inventions. Its second season debuted June 19 and will air for 13 weeks.

Jenkins is among the 15 inventors chosen for this year’s series. Each invention is taken from idea to a product ready for store shelves, each hand-selected by product development experts through a series of nationwide casting call auditions.

“There were a thousand or so inventors at the casting call I attended in Washington, D.C.,” Jenkins said. “There were a lot of great ideas there. I feel extremely fortunate to have been the one chosen.”

“Everyday Edisons opens doors for creative innovators who do not have access to the opportunities we present on the show,” said Louis Foreman, executive producer and lead judge for the show. “By exploring the complicated process of product development, it is our hope that we also educate viewers about what it takes to bring a product to market.”

Everyday Edisons is produced in cooperation with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The series invests hundreds of thousands of dollars into each chosen invention at no cost to the inventor. Those selected will have their inventions commercialized and receive royalties on all product sales for 20 years.

The TV series also partners with national retailers to help bring the inventors’ products onto store shelves, including The Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, The Sharper Image, QVC, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Staples and buybuyBaby.

Jenkins is the son of James Roosevelt Jenkins of Ahoskie and the late Earnesteen Cooper Jenkins. He is the grandson of the late Hughie and Nina Benthall Cooper and James and Libbie Futrell Jenkins, all who formally made their homes in Ahoskie.

A 1986 graduate of Ahoskie High School, Jenkins was an outstanding student-athlete. As a senior member of coach Daryl Allen’s football squad, Jenkins was team MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, served as co-captain, the WQDK Cougar of the Year, All-Conference, First Team All-East and Second Team All-State. In track and field at Ahoskie High, Jenkins served as team captain and was the conference champion in shot put.

While at AHS, Jenkins was a member of the Student Council and French Club. He also served as president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Varsity Club and VICA.

Jenkins went on to attend Winston-Salem State University, where he excelled in athletics, and still resides in that western North Carolina city. There, in addition to his UPS job, Jenkins is president of Innovative Consumer Products, LLC.

“Everyday Edisons” honors Thomas Edison, the famed American inventor who with virtually no formal education had more than 1,000 patents to his credit. The name implies that everyday people like Edison can have great ideas.

For more information and a short video trailer of the series, visit www.everydayedisons.com. For show air dates and times, visit www.pbs.org or contact your affiliate.