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Local Grade 8 student donates more than 100 winter weather packages to homeless

The holiday season just got a bit warmer for those in need in Grande Prairie as one Grade 8 student took it upon herself to make sure the city’s street-engaged population stays warm over the holidays.

13-year-old Gracelyn Karpiak, a student at Mother Teresa Catholic School, set out to collect toque and mitten donations over Halloween instead of trick or treating and managed to collect 104 toque packages, which each had a toque, a pair of wool socks, hand warmers, and a pair of gloves.

Graclyn’s mom Jamie Mclennan says her spirit of giving started when she was just six years old, and her donations have only grown.

“When she was about six and started to get tooth fairy money she refused to spend it on herself, and she had a little piggy bank and said this money is not for me it’s for other people.”

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“She started collecting her money and every year she would take whatever she had and I’d take her to the store and she would buy socks, and she would just hand them out to whoever she could find,” she says. “One year she even convinced me to do a baked foods thing and I sold all these baked goods and she took the money and bought socks and gloves.”

Mclennan adds that in her daughter’s efforts, she managed to work with numerous small businesses, and received cash donations from many, along with her own family and friends.

“It just spiraled into this big giant thing that was bigger than we both imagined.”

In addition to the 104 toque packages, Graclyn managed to wrangle up extra wool socks, and over 200 women’s products, clothing, and hygiene items, and has been donating them to various organizations as needed.

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