In May, Josie Haag, 11, and her mother, Rachel, of rural Herscher, stopped by the Pilot office to advertise a garage sale and to ask for donated items to sell.
Josie’s intention was to donate all proceeds to purchase toys for children at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago.
She was able to raise a total of $2150 from the sale.
This past summer she used one third of the money to purchase dolls and mini doll sets with books at the American Girl Benefit sale. She was able to get more than 30 dolls.
Last week, she purchased 40 more toys, mostly large LEGO building sets as well as toys for very young children.
Recalling her own experience as a 5-year-old who stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while she was awaiting surgery, Josie wrote a note and attached it to each of the toys. Part of the note read, “I know going to the hospital can be scary, and you might need a new toy to help you feel strong...I hope this new toy helps to make your time here a little bit better.”
Rachel states, “We took the items to the house on November 11. They were so excited and grateful. Their toy closet was almost empty and they were concerned about providing Christmas gifts for the children in the house.”
Rachel continues, “Josie was able to hand dolls to three little girls who were currently in the house. The little girls were so cute and their parents were so thankful. There were some tears shed by the mamas!”
Josie’s response was, “It was so amazing!”
Josie didn’t stop with toys, however.
Ronald McDonald House had been closed since their flood in February. When they opened back up at the beginning of October, they created a registry with Bed Bath and Beyond for items that needed to be replaced in the house.
Rachel shares, “Our local store in Bourbonnais was so gracious to Josie. The manager Nick Mememga, Herscher local, Sheila Burnett, and another employee named Megan all helped Josie purchase over $900 worth of items for just over $600. She was able to fulfill a good portion of their registry.”
Rachel concludes, “It was an awesome experience for all of us, and a good reminder of how God can do big things with little people!”