WAXAHACHIE — The season of giving is approaching and with the holidays comes cold weather. All of which is a thought that didn’t slip the mind of Felty Elementary School second grader, Ares Alonso.
After Ares’s eighth birthday in September, his mother Erica Alonso, decided it was time to start getting ideas for Christmas presents for her children and what Ares told her brought tears to her eyes.
“I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he said he didn’t really need anything and asked him if he really didn’t and he said no. I kind of played on it a bit and asked what he was doing,” Alonso said. “He told me that maybe we could get gifts for other kids who need something, but I explained that there is already Toy’s for Tots and the Angel Trees and things like that where kids have a toy option. I suggested we look into something else and he then had the idea of what is now Keep Ellis County Warm.”
In no time, the Alonso’s began working on the project and figuring out how to make it possible.
“It grew from there. It started with a question if we really could do it, then he asked his teachers about it and his friends if they would want to help,” Alonso explained. “I had to explain to him that it’s one thing for him to voluntarily give up his Christmas, but he couldn’t ask his friends to do that. We asked his friends to donate instead, so that’s how it became a donation drive.”
Alonso explained to her son that if he wanted to do this, he would have to be the one to ask people if they will host a donation box.
“We asked Target to host a donation box, and they said they would love to, but wanted to donate a $100 shopping spree instead. He picked out jackets, scarfs and gloves. It was awesome,” Alonso said.
As of Monday, Oct. 17, Ares and his mother have set up donation boxes at Multitudes, Sun Loans, Promise Child Day Care and the Waxahachie Daily Light.
“We’re not sure exactly when, but we are planning on setting up a donation tent outside of Walmart,” Alonso said.
She also shared that she noticed that many businesses who cannot host a donation box would offer to make a donation or put up flyers.
“I’m glad he has the opportunity to be involved in this community and get to see how generous everyone is,” Alonso said. “He is very much like his father. He is very laid back with no worry in the world.”
Ares shared with his mother recently that he wants to pursue many careers in his lifetime.
“He wants to be an inventor and learn how to turn salt water to drinking water. He said he wants to be a chef, too,” Alonso said.
With a family-friend in Lubbock who collects and donates scarfs throughout the year, the Alonso’s were able to “piggy-back” off of their idea.
“We asked ourselves who could benefit from the idea and we contacted the Child & Adult Protective Services, Healing Hearts Center and the Manna House,” Alonso said.
Once donations are collected, the items will be dispersed throughout each of these businesses.
Ares suggests that everyone participates and donates to help others.
“I don’t really need anything, I already have what I want so I want other people to have what they need,” Ares said. “Other people like my cousins and my sister are going to help me with my project too.”
Those interested can help by hosting a donation box at your local business, or you can donate at a drop off location. Scarfs, blankets, boys and girls jackets, sweatshirts, socks, gloves and hats will be collected until Dec. 5 and are asked to be new items only.
For more information regarding Keep Ellis County Warm, email Erica Alonso at firstname.lastname@example.org or like their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/keepelliscountywarm.
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL