7 Year old Sells Cat Toys to Buy Socks for the Homeless
By Abbigayle Hunt, Contributing Writer
Seven-year-old Willow Phelps has always been an animal lover, so when she found out about Collide NYC, she knew she needed to help. Collide NYC is a faith-based organization that provides help to the homeless and their pets in New York. One of the constant needs for their human clients is socks. Even though it wasn’t directly working with the pets, Willow wanted to help and she found a way to do it that still involved animals.
Willow came up with the idea to make catnip toys to sell to raise money for the socks that are needed by the homeless clients of Collide NYC, and set a goal to provide socks to 75-100 people. She named the project, “Operation Happy Paws, Happy Feet,” and got to work. Using donated supplies, Willow was able to make toys and sell them to raise money. She also raised awareness by attaching tags to each toy explaining the services provided by Collide NYC.
Making and selling cat toys helped, but Willow wanted to do more to reach her goal. Because of her love of animals, Willow works during the summer watching peoples’ cats. After finding out about the clients in need of socks, Willow decided to donate her summer pet-sitting earnings to buy socks. Between her summer earnings and her catnip toy sales, Willow earned $75, and with a matching grant from Start A Snowball, she donated 200 pairs of socks to Collide NYC.
Willow has had a great experience working on Operation Happy Paws, Happy Feet. She not only got to help, but she learned how to sew cat toys, personally handed out some of her socks, and met the people who will be benefit from donations. Willow doesn’t plan to stop now that the socks have been donated. She has display tables reserved at several holiday fairs and hopes to continue to earn money so that she can give socks, scarves, and gloves to the clients at Collide NYC. She also hopes to involve her friends and classmates so that they can experience service like she has.