Teen working to help kids at Christmas despite pandemic

Teen working to helps kids at Christmas despite pandemic

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ava McErlane is only 13 years old but says she is proof that even kids can make a difference in the world.

“I love giving the feeling of hope to the kids,” explains McErlane.

For the third year in a row, McErlane is asking for donations to give toys to sick kids this holiday season through her “Raise to Praise” fundraiser.

In 2018 she was able to collect 200 toys for Children’s Hospital. Last year she donated more than 1,200 toys and $1,400 to help sick kids at Christmas.

She is not letting a pandemic and new restrictions stop her from making this another successful year.

“I really want to make a difference and show that young people can make a difference even though they’re small in the world,” explains McErlane. “And I want to remind people that there are people that have harder lives than you.”

Her goal is to collect $4,000 in donations so the hospital can buy gift bundles for patients.

When McErlane learned the hospital could not accept gifts in person due to the pandemic, she started thinking of how she could help in a different way.

“My reaction was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I still really want to do this, but I don’t know how.,'" she says. "And when my mom said we can make a website through theirs I was like, ‘thank goodness because I love doing this.’”

McErlane says she was once in the hospital when she was nine years old. She says that experience taught here that something as small as a coloring book or a toy can make a big difference.

If she reaches her goal of $4,000 this year, she will provide a holiday bundle for 80 kids.

“It’s going to feel a little different, but just the feeling that we’re giving something to them makes me feel really good,” says McErlane.

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