Sykesville Middle School student collecting coats for charity

Ten-year-old Enya Sliwinski dropped 111 coats to the Second Chances free store in Westminster last week as part of her second annual One Warm Coat drive.

One Warm Coat is a national nonprofit organization that has raised more than five million coats since its inception in 1992 — and the Sykesville Middle School student donated 287 coats and $500 of her $500 goal to Carroll County and Baltimore residents in need last year.

“I wanted to do something good last winter, so I did a little bit of research and decided to do One Warm Coat,” Enya told the Times while standing beside a box full of donations at A Time 2 Party in Eldersburg.

“It was such a success I decided to do it again,” the sixth-grader said.

Enya delivered the coats to two shelters in downtown Baltimore and Second Chances in Westminster last year, and hopes to do the same this year through collecting gently-used jackets and blankets through November and December.

Since beginning the drive on Nov. 1, the young charity host has collected 141 coats and blankets and $425 — of her new 300-coat and $600 goals — at her two drop-off locations, A Time 2 Party and Store-N-Lock in Eldersburg. This year her donations will be sent to Turn Around Inc. in Baltimore and Second Chances in Westminster.

And she is hopeful about meeting her new goals because last year she started in December, and this year she has a whole extra month.

“I would like to reach the goal and if we could get a little more that would be good,” said Enya. “I’m thinking of raising the goal by 100 per year.”

Danelle Luckenbaugh, owner of A Time 2 Party, a party supply store on Exchange Drive in Eldersburg, said her coat drop-off location has been pretty busy.

She said people who come in are surprised to hear that the person running the drive is so young.

“They were like, ‘What? She’s only [10]?’ and I say, ‘Yes, she’s doing it with her mom.’ They can’t believe she’s doing this,” Luckenbaugh said.

“A lot of people, they’ll be paying and say, ‘I’ve got coats I want to bring in!’ ” she said. “And some people have seen the videos and come in.”

As Enya’s coat collection grows, she posts videos and photos on the Facebook page her mother, Justyna Sliwinski, set up for the drive.

“I picked up some coats and blankets on Tuesday from Time 2 Party,” reads the most recent post on the page, posted by Sliwinski. “We have now 141 coats/blankets and $425! How great is that! Thank you so much for all your donations! Christmas is coming and it feels really good knowing that there are so many people willing to help those in need❤️ #no1cold.”

Facebook has been instrumental in Enya’s fundraising, her mother said, as it helps the family spread awareness through the greater Eldersburg community.

“It’s an easy way to reach out to people in the area,” said Sliwinki. “We are just blown away with how many bring in their stuff and donate money. We are excited to check at the end of the day; she sends out her thank-you messages.”

And so has Sykesville Middle School, where another drop-off location has been set up.

“I’m happy that I get to help people,” she said, “and also that when somebody donates a coat, they think it’s just a coat. But for other people it means a lot because they get to stay warm.”

To donate coats and blankets to Enya’s second annual One Warm Coat drive, the items can be dropped off at any of the Eldersburg locations: A Time 2 Party, 5959 Exchange Drive #118 and Store-N-Lock, 6360 Monroe Ave.

jennifer.turiano@carrollcountytimes.com

443-488-0369

twitter.com/jturianoCCT

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