TRAVERSE CITY — An irrepressible 8-year-old can move mountains.
Deciding that area homeless people need scarves for Christmas, Ada Maas and her family are donating more than 250 of them before the holiday. The scarves are being distributed through the Safe Harbor program and the Goodwill Inn.
That total includes 230 hand-knit scarves Maas has received from all over the country, thanks to a short letter she sent out in June that touched hearts from Florida to California.
Befriending a local homeless person sparked the idea. Maas and her family regularly see him after she and her brother, Garrett, take swimming lessons at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.
"It was so cold, rainy and wet, I ... gave him my lunch," said Maas, who began packing an extra lunch each week. If there was a break from lessons, she would let him know and reassure him she would be back.
"Ada personally adopted him, whether he liked it or not," said Maas' grandmother, Patty Brzezinski.
On a frigid January day earlier this year, Maas also noticed that the homeless man was huddled in blankets.
"She got back in the van and said how cold he looked," Brzezinski added. "Then she got real quiet and we knew she was thinking."
A scarf seemed like the perfect idea: a hug of warmth made with love. Her grandmother knits and Maas began a scarf of her own as the idea took shape. She eventually gave that one to someone else, but the process brought home that more help was needed.
She wrote a letter asking for donations and the family set a goal, hoping to receive 75 scarves by Christmas. They mailed it to friends and relatives around the country, asking them to pass the word.
The family has been amazed by the response as box after box came in the mail or donations were dropped off at her school. Friends, acquaintances and complete strangers pitched in to help locally.
"They just kept coming," said Brzezinski. "We got our first box from Florida in August, a knitting club there, and they have sent 96 scarves in two boxes."
"I'm absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of people who don't know any of us."
This is the third year that Maas, a third grader at Willow Hill Elementary School in Traverse City, has directly helped area homeless. Two years ago, it was socks: she and her brother delivered 75 pairs, festively wrapped, to the Safe Harbor homeless shelter program.
Last year, when Maas learned that children staying at the Goodwill Inn did not celebrate birthdays with a cake and trimmings, she raised money and supplied cake mixes, frosting and candles.
The scarf donations will be appreciated on multiple levels, from practical warmth to knowing someone cares, said Ryan Hannon, street outreach coordinator for Goodwill Industries of Northwest Michigan.
Though the winter started out mild until recently, numbers at Safe Harbor are already up. In November, an average of 36 people per night stayed with Safe Harbor, which provides church-based temporary shelter — that's an increase of five people per night over November 2011.
As winter sets in and the need rises, one little girl can make a difference. To Hannon, the scarf ministry Maas established sets a "wonderful example" for everyone.
"Ada is practicing the life of a giving heart and really showing her faith and treating people as Jesus would," Hannon said.
8-year old girl organizes donation of more than 250 scarves for area's homeless
TRAVERSE CITY — An irrepressible 8-year-old can move mountains.
Beach Bums salvage split
Traverse City got a split of a doubleheader against Joliet on Monday at Wuerfel Park, and with the way things have been going lately for the Beach Bums they will take it.Continued ...
Ruthkoski surges to early lead at T of C
Andy Ruthkoski set a torrid pace to begin his quest to repeat as the champion of the Tournament of Champions on Monday.Continued ...
Tour of Champions Scores: 07/29/2014
Tour of Champions scores:Continued ...
NMC to lease Shadowland Motel
Northwestern Michigan College trustees approved a plan to turn a local motel that’s been the site of recent drug raids and criminal arrests into temporary student housing.Continued ...
Editorial: Early college programs offer TCAPS students head start
In an era of sky-high college tuition rates and dwindling state and federal aid, being a frugal higher ed shopper is a must.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: TC swimmer wins state championship
Traverse City swimmer Julia Brunner won the state title in the 100-meter butterfly at the Michigan 14 and Under Long Course State Championships in Ypsilanti this weekend. (Plus more)Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 07/29/2014
Pay our share; Reduce government; No job growth.Continued ...
Traverse City Film Fest Schedule: 07/29/2014
What's happening Tuesday at the Traverse City Film Festival:Continued ...
Film Fest ticket sales heat up
Thunderstorms and rain and wind. Oh my! Traverse City Film Festival organizers and patrons are crossing their fingers as the threat of cold, stormy weather looms, especially on the eve of the 10th rendition of the annual event.Continued ...
Expect chilly weather during Open Space movies
Movie-lovers who attend the Traverse City Film Festival's first Open Space showing may want to pack warm clothes and an umbrella along with their lawn chairs.Continued ...
UPDATE: YMCA officials remain optimistic on opening date
There is no longer an electronic ticker on the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA's website that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the new facility's opening.Continued ...
Roads in city, GT County closed
Some local roads will close this week as the summer construction season rolls on.Continued ...
Ex-school board member eyes GT County commission
A former Traverse City Area Public Schools board member who's running for Grand Traverse County's Board of Commissioners said balancing the county's budget will be his top priority if elected.Continued ...
Police dog tracks down accused drunken driver
A Traverse City man faces accusations he wandered away from his pickup truck after he drunkenly ran it off the road and into a Long Lake Township ditch.Continued ...
Authorities investigate Whitewater blaze
An abandoned Whitewater Township farmhouse collapsed in a fire that authorities consider suspicious.Continued ...
Teen's jump into Leland marina waters prompts search
A teen's plunge into Leland Marina after a suspected boat break-in prompted a search by local authorities and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew who didn't know he resurfaced and went to a friend's home.Continued ...
YMCA postpones charter membership party
Grand Traverse Bay YMCA officials postponed a party intended to unveil the new fitness facility to the organization's charter members.Continued ...
2 Republicans hope to deregulate businesses, represent Kalkaska downstate
Dave Ryan didn’t win the 103rd House seat in 2008, when his campaign consisted of riding his tractor door-to-door for more than 1,000 miles.Continued ...
Today remains chilly after Sunday storms
Showers and thunderstorms brought almost a half-inch of rain and small hail to the Grand Traverse area, but there were no severe weather warnings or reports of significant damage.Continued ...
To the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Clean Vessel Act program for providing $200,000 to the state of Michigan for projects that help recreational boaters properly dispose on-board septic waste.Continued ...
Beach Bums postponed, twinbill tonight
Sunday’s scheduled game at Wuerfel Park between Traverse City and Joliet was postponed due to the threat of storms throughout the evening.Continued ...
Historical Photo of the Week: 07/28/2014
Did you know that Traverse City’s own State Theater, the epicenter of the TC Film Festival, opened on July 4, 1916 as the Lyric Theater?Continued ...
Pretty Paper Connects Us All
Don Harrison knows collectors. “Different people buy different things for different reasons,” he said as he sized up the landscape with a practiced eye from his third floor perch at Wilson Antiques in Traverse City.Continued ...
Show to tell stories of the past
Don Harrison collects postcards, sheet music and old maps; he also collects the stories that follow them. Events like the inaugural 2014 Traverse City Antique Postcard & Rare Paper Show make great story hunting, Harrison said.Continued ...
Update on 07/21/2014 historical photo
Historical photo information, provided by readers, for the July 21 image:Continued ...
- Beach Bums salvage split