By Lisa Capobianco
What started out as a snow day last Tuesday for a group of children in Plantsville turned into a day of giving back.
Nine-year-old Jamie Baden and her six-year-old sister Kylie joined their friends and peers in shoveling their neighbors’ driveways during their day off from school. When they made a total of $100 upon finishing the job, Jamie said she and her peers decided to use the money to help children in need instead of dividing the money among themselves. They decided to use the money to buy over a dozen toys for the Toys for Tots campaign.
Jamie said it felt good not only to help clean her neighbor’s driveways but also to reach out to children in need.
“It is the best feeling in the world,” said Jamie, who added that she and her friends ended up shoveling about 20 driveways. “We thought to ourselves, ‘who needs the money most—us or kids who do not have as much as we do.’”
John Baden, the father of Jamie and Kylie, said they ended up raising more money than expected because one neighbor made a monetary contribution, and a child who could not join the shoveling crew also donated money. As word spread about the cause, Mark Lovley, the president of Lovley Development, matched the children’s original donation of $100.
“I think it is a great thing when kids as young as them have the energy to go out, work, then give something back,” said Lovley, who developed Empress Drive where the Baden family lives. “When they do this, it comes from the heart, and I am so proud of them for doing it.”
The day after shoveling, Baden took the children to Target in Southington where they ended up buying more toys than expected. Baden said a friend that ran into them at the store also bought toys to donate, and Target gave them a 15 percent discount on the total purchase.
“All-in-all the kids were able to buy almost $400 worth of toys,” Baden said. “The children in the neighborhood worked hard and their parents are proud of them.”