Now in its fourth year, Giving Tuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season. And one local girl has already gotten a head start—so much so that she may need your help to finish the job.
Kayla Shy is young philanthropist in Willowick who is surprising her neighbors with stockings stuffed full of holiday cheer and special goodies.
Kayla said, “My goal is that the stockings will bring cheer and less loneliness to not just seniors but everyone who can be lonely around the holidays.”
“It just was a real surprise that somebody would go to that bother to think of us, you know, at Christmastime” said Jan Larch, a Willowick resident who received her stocking a while back.
The ten-year-old gathers donations from her community like mugs, hot cocoa and crossword puzzles, and stuffs them into stockings and passes them out to mostly senior citizens within her neighborhood.
“We get the names from our councilman Charlie Malta, along with other social media sources,” says Kayla’s mom, Melissa Shy. “People will message us names, addresses of people that they know could use a little bit of cheer and we just add them to our list.”
Charlie Malta is the City Councilman and neighborhood mailman. He thinks Kayla’s idea is inspiring. “The mailman is sometimes the only person the senior is going to see all day long, so when Kayla had this great idea I said sure, I’ll give you some names...if you could actually see their faces and see tears running down their cheeks when they receive these stockings it’s so heartwarming…”
It all started 3 years ago when Kayla got word that her next door neighbor had just lost her son and would be alone for the holidays. She immediately thought of little things that she could stuff into a Christmas stocking to cheer her up with and the next day, she delivered.
Since then, her idea has grown into her own holiday tradition.
“When Kayla first told me that she wanted to continue adding more and more seniors to the list every year of bringing stockings to, I really was not surprised, because that’s her personality she’s very compassionate and empathetic, so I just kind of rolled with it,” said Melissa Shy.
But Kayla isn't stopping with just 80 stockings. She's is asking her charity base for more help to reach her goal before Christmas.
She says, “I would love to reach my goal of about a hundred stockings by December 11th.”
Kayla also hopes one day she’ll be able to have her own non-profit so she can give back to more people, all the time.