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Share the Warmth

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Strolling down the streets of Chicago when the snow is gently falling and the sun is shining, it’s perfect. That’s when you say to yourself, “Aah, life can’t get any better, right?” Well, at least for my grandparents and I it couldn’t. But have you ever thought about someone else who maybe doesn’t have the wonderful opportunities you do? Well, that day was the day when I figured that out for myself.



My whole story started that chilly November day. We had just finished shopping at the American Girl doll store and we were headed off to Garret’s Popcorn. The crowds where horrendous, so squeezing through was the best I could do. Then I saw something I had never seen before: a homeless family. There was a mom, dad, a child and a baby. They only had two blankets; one was wrapped around the baby and the other they were all trying to get under. Then I saw the sign of ripped up old cardboard that read, “Please, need food and warmth.” I had no idea what I could do to help them; I didn’t have any money, and I didn’t carry blankets around every where I went. So, I just kept on walking by, but I could never forget that family.



When I got home from Chicago everything seemed normal, but I wanted to do something to help families in need in my community. Everything fell into place last summer; when I became Miss Greater Grand Rapids Pre-Teen. When I saw how other people helped their community, I wanted to do the same. But, what could an 11 year old girl do to help? Then, I remembered that poor family I saw in Chicago and I said, “I am going to start a blanket drive.”


After a few months of planning, Share the Warmth was ready. I went and talked to some local businesses about my cause and asked them if I could put a box, for donations, in their business. Every business I asked said yes; I was so excited to finally give something back. By the end of that November I collected over 300 blankets and donated them all to In the Image, a homeless shelter and donation center.


That year was a changing year for me because I learned a very valuable lesson: anyone can make a difference.





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