NEW ALBANY, Ind. — The excitement of Santa and getting gifts is part of the Christmas experience kids enjoy.
For a New Albany girl, this time of the year is about giving in a big way and she’s asking for the public’s help.
Twelve-year-old Gracelyn Raelson has celebrated her birthdays differently for the past two years.
“For my birthday, I couldn’t think of anything I really needed or wanted, so I just really stuck with helping the community,” she said.
Gracelyn decided to start a coat drive dedicated to serving the homeless population in Kentuckiana.
“I got 25 last year. I was happy with it, but I felt like I could have done more,” she explained. “We kept it small last year because it was a little closer and took them up to the mall and the smile on her face was precious. I loved it.”
Gracelyn started her 2020 coat drive back in January, worried that she wasn't going to hit her goal. Now she is only 25 coats away from her goal of 100 but is looking for a certain type.
"We need men's in the larger sizes, but any coats will be perfectly fine as long as their new or gently used."
Gracelyn also has a gentle reminder about the community she is serving.
“They are people just like you, except sometimes it’s harder to realize that.”
Coats can be donated at Holy Family on West Daisy Lane in New Albany. If you want to go contactless, you can drop them off in the breezeway.