EATON — Instead of collecting presents for herself at her recent birthday party, Ava Buchholz asked for blankets for the Preble County Homeless Shelter.
She donated 22 blankets on Tuesday, Dec. 18, but according to her mother Angie Duncan, the family has even more blankets to collect and drop off.
With an intention to continue the collection every year, the family is considering naming the project Ava’s Gift. The 11-year-old philanthropist started this project after seeing homeless on the road during the winter.
“I see homeless people on the side of the road during wintertime and they don’t have any blankets to keep them warm. I decided to donate them, so they can stay warm,” Buchholz said.
“I wanted them to be happy, because they lost their home. It was more important that they are warm than me getting presents for my birthday.”
Duncan is the picture of a proud mother and has been nothing but supportive of her daughter’s newest project.
“I think it is an awesome gesture that she decided to do. It was very selfless of her, to know that she was going to be getting less birthday presents and that people were going to be donating to the homeless shelter instead of giving to her,” she said.
“She actually thought of this idea a couple years ago. She wanted to give on her birthday, instead of getting, but we didn’t know how to go about it. She originally had thought about giving toys, but she said, ‘Mom, churches give toys and the YMCA gives toys.’
“She wanted to do something, because she has always worried about the homeless and always wants to donate to the homeless when we see them. I thought that was wonderful, so I talked to a couple people that I know at the homeless shelter in town and they hooked me up with the HIT Foundation.”
On her birthday party invitations, Duncan specified that her daughter wanted blankets for the homeless, not toys or clothes. There has also been a large interest online and the family now has even more blankets to pick up.
“I want to do this every year on my birthday,” Buchholz said. “It made me feel happy, because I know people are going to stay warm on the cold days. I want to try to get to 30 blankets next year, or even 100 blankets to donate.”
If anyone is interested in donating to Ava’s Gift, they are encouraged to drop off blankets to the HIT Foundation with a donation in Ava Buccholz’s name.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH