CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago girl has learned at a very young age to put others first – even on her birthday.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported, Nayeli Blankenbaker turned 6 years old on Monday. She has been thinking about her birthday for weeks – anticipating the gifts she would receive – but gifts she would not keep.
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“It’s going to make me feel happy,” Nayeli said.
Nayeli is happy to collect donations for the homeless – the men and women seen in tents at such locations at Belmont and Kedzie avenues under the Kennedy Expressway in Avondale, and near Chicago and Kedzie avenues under the railroad viaduct in Humboldt Park.
She is putting them first on her birthday.
Williams: “In other words, instead of getting gifts for you, you want people to donate to the homeless – is that right?”
Nayeli’s mom, Suri, said the idea was hatched as they drove past the two locations along Kedzie Avenue.
“She kept asking questions, and you know, she wanted to give people toys – the homeless people – and I was like ‘Baby, they don’t need toys,’” Suri Blankenbaker said.
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They need toiletries, mom said – and socks and underwear. So Nayeli recorded a video and posted it on Instagram, making a birthday appeal to friends and family.
“We are celebrating my birthday, and we are going to be donating goodie bags, toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste,” Nayeli said.
The donations are coming in. Nayeli and her parents and younger siblings, will drop off the gifts Saturday.
They are welcoming others to join what they call a birthday parade.
Williams asked Nayeli and her mother which one of them came up with the idea. They each said, “both of us.”
It amounts to a celebration and a lesson in generosity from a 6-year-old.
“Because they’re homeless and they don’t have no food and other stuff, so we need to help them,” Nayeli said.
The family and friends are set to start the birthday parade at 5:30 p.m. this coming Saturday, May 1, at the Avondale-Logandale Elementary School, 3212 W. George St.
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If you would like to donate to the homeless for Nayeli’s birthday, email her mom, Suri Blankenbaker, here.