HAND IT ON: Olivia Anderson - Blankets for Iris House

HAND IT ON: Olivia Anderson - Blankets for Iris House

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - From the mouths of babes.

Sometimes the most valuable life lessons come from our children. Such is the case with this week’s Hand It On.

Winton and Andriette Anderson tell the story about a parental teaching moment they experienced with their 6-year-old daughter, Olivia.

“It was actually her birthday in August,” mom, Andriette, begins. “She’s always excited about her birthday, so she has this elaborate list of who she’s gonna' invite and what she’s gonna get. So I challenged her and said, ‘What about instead of getting, giving?’ And of course, she looked at me and she’s like, ‘I have to give my gifts away?’ So I kind of let it sit and we didn’t really say much, and then around Christmas I said to her, ‘Hey, have you thought about what you’re gonna’ do?' And it was actually on the way to school and I caught her in the middle of a thought, so she didn’t have really much time to think about it, and she said, ‘I think I’m gonna’ give away blankets.'”

(Source: Family)

That’s how it all started.

So with mom’s help, Olivia posted a short video on social media indicating she was going to give away blankets to the homeless and needed people to help.

“And within 24 hours, she had over $200,” Andriette said.

Then came the week of Christmas. Thanks to a fundraiser page created on Facebook, Olivia found her project had raised upwards of $700!

So off to Big Lots they went!

“I literally pulled all the blankets off the shelf,” Andriette said. “I had three buggies full of blankets! I took them to the register and I counted them as I went to try to help the people in the line, but the cashier said she had to scan each of them individually. And everybody behind me kinda' just started grumbling, and I turned around and I apologized and I tried to tell her story. It didn’t really win everybody over, but the immediate people behind me started helping load the baskets and count, and we got out of the store and two ladies helped with their granddaughter put the blankets in the car.”

But Olivia really wanted to make sure the blankets went to an organization where children would get them. After some research and many phone calls, it was decided the Iris House would be the best place for the blankets to go.

The Iris House is a domestic violence agency. They service men, women, and their minor children who are fleeing domestic violence situations. Perfect!

“And we took them to the Iris House,” Andriette explained. “And they welcomed Olivia with open arms. She met two families. Two little kids hugged her and told her thank you. And we made an impact. One mother told us we didn’t know what an impact we made. She had a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old. She told us what we did was something that we probably thought was small, but it made a huge impact on their Christmas because her kids got a little bit of love outside of their own situation, which was really nice.”

So when Olivia was nominated for Hand It On, we were more than excited to meet this amazing young lady and her family. We gave Olivia three brand new 100 dollar bills. She was excited and told us she was going to give all the money to Fenn.

Who is Fenn?

“Fenn is a young person Olivia learned about at school through their Kids Heart Challenge program,” Andriette said.

Then Olivia jumped in.

“When Fenn was born it was really sad,” Olivia said, holding up her money. “He had to have like six or seven surgeries on his heart, so don’t be surprised if I give it all to the American Heart Association Kids Heart Challenge.”

We could learn a thing or two from our children. We certainly did this week! To nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact information, especially your phone number.

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