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.
City to increase focus on sidewalk plowing
City commissioners buried in residents' complaints about unplowed sidewalks took little warmth from efforts to increase enforcement of snow removal requirements for property owners.Continued ...
Interlochen Wendy's robbed; man arrested
Authorities arrested an Interlochen man on suspicion of armed robbery. Michigan State Police responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Wendy’s restaurant in Interlochen on Sunday night.Continued ...
Interlochen Wendy's subject of armed robbery
Authorities arrested an Interlochen man, 50, on suspicion of armed robbery.Continued ...
To the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor for stepping forward to offer free open-heart surgery for Nguyen Duyen, a Vietnamese exchange student.Continued ...
Local MSU fans revel in Big 10 title
Rob DeLonge lost his voice on Saturday and by Sunday night it still hadn’t returned. A fair trade off for a Big 10 football championship, as far as he was concerned.Continued ...
Historical Photo of the Week: 12/09/2013
Can any readers identify the children in this photo?Continued ...
TCAPS reviews Cousins
Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education will release their annual evaluation of the district’s superintendent during a meeting tonight.Continued ...
Historical Photo Update for 12/02/2013 image
Historical photo information, provided by readers, for the Dec. 2 image:Continued ...
Hounds complete sweep of Firehawks
Five different players scored goals as the Traverse City Hounds defeated the Soo Firehawks 5-2 on Saturday night.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 12/09/2013
From three to four?; Should be thanked.Continued ...
Touching Michigan's History
Sometimes it’s best to sit on the floor and pass around artifacts to get a feel of early Michigan history.Continued ...
News From 100 Years Ago: 12/09/2013
Honor man bucked drifts with auto — When he reached here his machine showed the effects of hard usage.Continued ...
Northern Notes: Rain doesn't dampen support
Rain doesn't dampen support for Cooks' House pig roast fundraiser for Traverse Health Clinic.Continued ...
Local Bowling Scores: 12/09/2013
Local bowling scores from Lucky Jack's:Continued ...
Midwest Junior Hockey League Standings: 12/09/2013
Midwest Junior Hockey League Standings as of Sunday, Dec. 8:Continued ...
Community in Brief: 12/09/2013
Christmas Cookie Walk; Christmas dinner.Continued ...
Today in Sports: 12/09/2013
What's happening in sports across the region and the country:Continued ...
- Monday, December 2, 2013
Girls Basketball: St. Francis wins season opener (with video)
The St. Francis Gladiators started the 2013-14 season with a 47-23 win over Harbor Springs tonight in the Katie Heintz Keep Believing Tip-off Tournament.Continued ...
Bomb squad called to Cherry Growers
A Cherry Growers Inc. employee’s discovery of a “suspicious device” brought a state police bomb squad to the fruit processor’s Grawn building.Continued ...
Rich resigns from TCAPS board
Applications are being accepted for an open spot on Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education following the resignation of a trustee and former board president.Continued ...
Authorities investigate 'suspicious device'
Cherry Growers, Inc. is offering a reward for information about a "suspicious device" that brought the bomb squad to its main office.Continued ...
TCAPS board member resigns
Marjorie Rich has announced her resignation from the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education.
Monday's Sports Scoreboard
Due to technical problems, Sunday's scoreboard was publsihed in the 12/02/13 paper.Continued ...
Cheers & Jeers: 12/02/2013
To Solar Up North Alliance program, a partnership between Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Traverse City Light and Power which allows customers to lease a solar panel for $470 with a $75 rebate, for winning the “Exemplary Project” award from the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.Continued ...
Academy's 6-week electives are fun, educational
Brittany Wright lined up six bananas and hooked them up to her computer using a special circuit board and connector wires.Continued ...
- City to increase focus on sidewalk plowing