B y Derek Liebig
Kylie Touchette didn’t celebrate her tenth birthday the way most kids do.
Given the opportunity to have a birthday party, complete with cake, gifts and party favors, Kylie politely declined. She was more inclined to make sure that other kids her age had a joyous holiday.
Kylie and her grandmother, Marie Monty, took the money that would have been spent on the party and used it to purchase gifts for the annual Toys for Tots train which rolled through town Sunday afternoon.
“Rather than have a birthday party, Kylie decided she wanted to use the money to buy gifts. She had heard the need was greater this year than before,” Monty said.
The charitable endeavor was a continuation of what Kylie and Monty refer to as the “Matthew Project.”
A couple of years ago, Monty began giving Kylie a weekly announcement for doing chores around the house. There was one caveat, however. She had to donate at least $1 toward some sort of charity project. Over time that small donation grew into bigger ideas.
Two years ago, she made nearly three dozen doll beds from wooden Clementine boxes and gave them away to needy children as gifts. After taking a year off, Kylie decided this year she once again wanted to spread a little holiday cheer to local children.
“She still very much believes in it (Matthew Project),” Monty said. “She is a very well-rounded, all around good girl.”
So Kylie, a fifth grade honor student at Whitehall Elementary School who recently earned her class’s Citizenship Award, and Monty headed to Target and the local Dollar General Store searching for gifts. She put together a number of goodie bags and was able to purchase between 20 and 25 inexpensive toys.
“We spent close to $100. She did a superb job finding bargains,” Monty said.
Although Kylie was unable to attend Sunday’s event—she was at church—Monty said there was only one thing she wished for.
“Hopefully there were lots of smiling faces on Sunday,” Monty said.