Cookies for Coats: Lafayette 7th Grader Teams with Whole Foods and * You * to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims

Lafayette might be 3000 miles from Hurricane Sandy’s path, but that doesn’t mean our children haven’t noticed its continued impact and long to help. Here’s the story of one Stanley Middle School 7th grader who is taking action — and asking for a little help from the rest of us.

Ella Maisano has launched a “Cookies for Coats” campaign. She’ll be outside Lafayette’s Whole Foods Market on Sunday, November 18, from Noon-3pm, ready to take your gently used (or new!) warm coats for families impacted by Hurricane Sandy– and give you a cookie as a thank-you!

Lafayette CA Organizes Hurricane Sandy Outreach - Coats for CookiesDo you recognize Ella? This isn’t the first time she’s gotten involved after a natural disaster. As a Springhill Elementary School student, Ella held a Soles 4 Souls shoe drive and collected 400 pairs of shoes that were then shipped to victims of Japan’s Earthquake & Tsunami.

This time, though, her family remembered a big lesson learned from the shoe campaign: People in Lafayette are generous. Donations won’t be problem. The trick is getting those donations efficiently to the right people without breaking the family budget.

“I was a little concerned about the costs of shipping the coats, and then found that children’s retailer Carter’s is shipping donated coats weekly to K.I.D.S. partner charities on the East Coast who is distributing them to those in need,” says Roxie McFarland, Ella’s mother.

It’s amazing how quickly things come together when you focus on asking the right people for help.

Shipping costs solved, it was just a matter of where to hold the collection. Enter Whole Foods in Lafayette, whose marketing manager Jane Shafer, a newly elected Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Board member, arranged to give Ella space outside the store this Sunday, and then threw in a bonus: Whole Foods would gladly provide the cookies, too.

The cookies were Ella’s idea from the beginning. The original plan called for baking those cookies at home, but it’s hard to resist Whole Foods yummy cookies.

We’ll all miss Ella’s home cooking, but just imagine how much sweeter your cookie is going to taste served with a thank you and a 7th grader’s smile!

Says Shafer: “Supporting the local community is the heartbeat of Whole Foods Market’s core values and we are so proud to support Ella! We look forward to collaborating together and are grateful in advance to all the customers who will take the time to drop off a coat on Sunday. Our team members were so excited when they heard Ella’s heartwarming story of wanting to help that we already have a dozen coats waiting!”

UPDATE, posted 11/20/12:

Cookies for Coats - Hurricane Sandy - 7th Grader Outreach

100 coats! That’s how many coats are now on their way to families impacted by Hurricane Sandy, thanks to Stanley Middle School 7th Grader Ella Maisano’s “Cookies for Coats” idea, your generosity and the help of  Whole Foods Market Lafayette, who offered Ella space and cookies for Sunday’s collection. Thanks to all, especially Ella!

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