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The Journal Gazette

  • Natalia Kleinrichert, 10, and her mother, Amy, unload Girl Scout cookies she donated to the Rescue Mission. (Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette)

  • Natalia Kleinrichert, 10, carries in boxes of Girl Scout cookies that she collected to donate to the Rescue Mission. Kleinrichert collected 155 boxes for the residents of the Mission.

  • Natalia Kleinrichert, 10, unloads boxes of Girl Scout cookies that she collected to donate to the Rescue Mission. Kleinrichert collected 155 boxes for the residents of the Mission.

Thursday, June 13, 2019 1:00 am

Girl Scout donates cookies to Mission

Alaina Stellwagen | The Journal Gazette

It's not every day The Rescue Mission receives large donations from a 10-year-old, but giving is nothing new for Natalia Kleinrichert. 

Natalia on Wednesday hauled in blankets, shampoo, toothpaste and more than 150 boxes of Girl Scout cookies with the help of parents Eric and Amy Kleinrichert. 

“She's got a gigantic heart for the homeless. She's really a wonderful kid,” said John Hapner, a family friend who helps at The Rescue Mission. 

Natalia's heart for helping others became evident when she was just 3.

After Hurricane Sandy and other storms devastated parts of the country in 2012, Natalia put her clothes and toys into plastic bags, said her mom, Amy. “She said 'it was for the sandy people.' I was confused, but she said their houses blew away.”

Since then, Natalia's heart for donating has only grown. 

Almost every year, Natalia asks for donations for her birthday rather than presents. In the past, she's donated her birthday items to Charis House and the animal shelter. 

“And for Christmas, I asked for big boxes of stuff for the homeless,” Natalia said. “I put the bags, hats, scarves and gloves in a bag and handed them out.”

Natalia is a Girl Scout and saw that as an opportunity to continue her donation work.

Natalia came up with the idea during a routine visit to Riley Hospital for Children. She was born premature and has had major health issues most of her life.

Girl Scout customers could buy cookies to give to the homeless or they could donate money. 

“I asked her why she's selling for the homeless, and she said, 'Because they need cookies, too,'” her mother said.

“She was worried she'd have to buy them,” Natalia added about her mom.  

Her mother laughed. “I asked her how we were going to do this, because Mommy wasn't going to buy all the boxes.” 

Natalia sold 155 boxes for the homeless and sold more than 430 boxes for the year. With each box costing $4, Natalia donated more than $620 to The Rescue Mission. 

“It means a lot to us, especially to see someone so young have a heart for the homeless,” said Natalie Trout, Rescue Mission director of marketing and communications. “When the people we serve find out about this, I know they'll just be so overjoyed. Even if they end up with one cookie, just knowing this little girl is something that is really going to touch them.”

Natalia's parents are just as proud of their daughter.  

“It's her passion,” her mother said. “She does it because honestly it's something she wants to do, not because someone told her she has to. So we look forward to seeing long term where this will lead her.”