January 19, 2018 8:33 pm

Instead of birthday presents, 7-year-old wants people to donate to local shelters

For her eighth birthday, Peyton Henry-Dancey wants everyone to donate items to the local homeless shelters.

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Instead of receiving presents for her birthday, seven-year-old Peyton Henry-Dancey wants her friends to donate items like socks and hygiene products to local shelters in need – instead of getting gifts of her own.

It was around this time last year when Peyton and her mother Cheryll came up with the idea to ask for donations instead of presents.

At that time, they were gathering donations to support the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society and this year, they’re looking for donations to help the homeless in the city.

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Seven-year-old Peyton seen here in 2017 donating items to the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society.

LAWS / Courtesy

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Getting presents isn’t something she’s concerned about — she’d rather help out others.

“I don’t really mind [not getting presents] because I have a nice life and I want other people to have a nice life too,” said the Grade 2 student at Queen Mary Public School.

Although her birthday isn’t until March, donations from the community have been pouring in after Cheryll posted to a local Facebook page asking which shelter was in need and what kind of items they should be donating.

The proud mother is overwhelmed by all the generosity not only by her daughter’s gesture but also from the community.

“She [Peyton] said, ‘I would like to donate to the shelters instead,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’ And of course, I start tearing up because I’m so proud… it’s pretty cool.”

They packed up some boxes of items ranging from winter coats, hats and gloves to non-perishable food items and hygiene products and then loaded them into a truck and delivered them to the Warming Room office on Water Street.

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Rev. Christian Harvey is the director of the Warming Room and was thrilled to see all the items.

“What I really love about what Peyton is doing, is just that idea of acknowledging that we are a community together,” said Rev. Harvey. “And it’s not just about me or it’s not just about Peyton. In order to make Peterborough a place for everyone, we have to care for everyone.”

With the vacancy rate at one per cent in Peterborough, Rev. Harvey says we’re near a crisis point when it comes to housing and shelters are feeling the effects and seeing a spike in use at this time of year.

“We’ve been quite busy at the Warming Room and though I’ve been super grateful for our guests… there are 30 people sometimes in a room and they are able to make it work. I have to admit I’m not sure I’d be able to make that work,” he said.

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Harvey says they are always in need of items like socks and gloves and especially sanitary wipes, and says those wanting to donate and follow Peyton’s lead can drop off the items at the One Roof Community Centre on Brock Street between noon and 7 p.m

As for Peyton, she plans to keep on giving.

“I feel like I’m making a difference in my community.”

When donations are made, you’re encouraged to mention Peyton’s birthday and make it that much more special for everyone involved.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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