"Because kids like to play outside"

Four-year-old Finley and her mom Holly Pappel of Altona have been hard at work for the past few months, collecting jackets, snow pants, mittens, toques and boots for children who may not have warm outerwear for the winter. LORI PENNER/Red River Valley Echo

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One little Altona resident is proving that you’re never too young to support your community.
Four-year-old Finley is on a mission: she wants to collect 60 jackets for kids who don’t have warm clothes for the winter.
Her mom, Holly Pappel says the idea started when they were talking about a friend who was collecting items to donate to a charitable organization in Jamaica.
“Finley had an extra bike, and we talked about donating that. Then she asked me what donating means. I used the example of the Winnipeg organization Koats for Koats and how they collect warm winter jackets for kids whose parents can’t afford to buy them. She instantly said she wanted to do that too, so all the kids could play outside in the winter, just like she loves to do.”
Finley firmly decided 60 would be a good goal.
“She’s in this phase right now where she just loves the number 60,” Holly chuckles.
“But I wondered how in the world I would be able to afford to buy 60 jackets to donate, so I asked her if that was really what she wanted to do. And she said, ‘Mommy, that’s what people do – they help each other!’”
Holly says she knows what a giving community Altona is, so she set out to make Finley’s wish of donating 60 jackets come true.
Since the end of October, they’ve been raising awareness of their cause through word of mouth and social media, and the donations have been steadily coming in.
Out of province friends and family have even been sending e-Transfers so she could buy gently used jackets online.
“So far, we have 33 jackets, along with a bunch of snow pants, boots, toques and mittens,” Holly says, adding that they’re targeting all ages, from infant right through the teens.
So far, there is no formal distribution method. Simply call Holly at 204-324-4667 if you want to donate gently used items, or if there’s someone you know who is in need.
“You can also drop them off here at my house at 120 2nd St. NW,” she says.
She adds that there’s no shame or embarrassment involved in needing these items. “Making ends meet is tough for a lot of people these days. Minimum wage doesn’t match the cost of living, so there are more and more parents hoping and praying their kids won’t grow out of their jackets before the end of winter. But so often, they do. We’re just here to help.”
Finley is delighted with the pile of jackets slowly accumulating in her house.
“I’m happy the boys and girls can play outside, and make snowmans and snow angels. Because kids like to play outside.”