8-year-old Maddie Nolan donates toys to those in need

Published 11:37 am Monday, October 2, 2023

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

CALERA – Maddie Nolan, from Calera, recently celebrated her birthday. Rather than receive presents and toys for herself, she instead sought to provide happiness for other children that were in need.

Nolan, who turned 8-years old recently, selflessly donated toys given to her for her birthday so that others, who weren’t as lucky, could experience the joy of receiving a gift.

“She contacted the Calera police department wanting to donate toys to children and she got our name through them and through Mitzi Wheat, that’s the victim’s advocate at the Calera Police Department,” said Janelle Sierra, the executive director of SafeHouse. “(Wheat) connected us and Maddie wanted to collect toys for her birthday for someone else.”

Maddie, who was content and believed that she did not need anything new, instead asked everyone she invited to her birthday to bring a new toy, unwrapped, that she could then donate. Any money that she received for her birthday was also put toward this effort.

With the help from her mother, Shawna, Maddie went shopping with that money and purchased even more toys that she could put toward her effort.

Showing forethought and care beyond her years, Maddie also took great effort to ensure that the toys she procured were geared toward more than just kids like herself. She took efforts to donate toys that appealed to both boys and girls and to a multitude of ages.

“I was overwhelmed by how much she had collected and everything she had brought to us,” Sierra said. “It was so sweet, it was all ages for girls and for boys, she thought of everybody. It’s going to end with a lot of smiling faces for our clients and their children. It was just so sweet, selfless and thoughtful for someone who is eight years old to be thinking of others in such a way at such a young age.”

Thanks to Maddie’s efforts, SafeHouse believes that they will be able to bring smiles to the faces of many children who might have otherwise gone without.

“I would guess there were at least 30 toys in there, at least,” Sierra said. “It was a large number of toys. There was a skateboard, there were crafts, there were toys for babies, there were barbies. Just a wide assortment and variety, she thought of other people and what other people might like.”

The toys donated by Maddie will be given to children in SafeHouse’s emergency shelter and to community clients in need.