7-year-old donates birthday presents to homeless shelter


POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — When blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, this little girl didn’t wish for any presents for herself. Instead, she wanted to help the homeless.

Most kids in first grade would have a long list of presents they want for their birthday. But Madelyn’s list was a little different.

“I wanted to help other people,” said 7-year-old Madelyn Kovaleski.

She tells me, rather than asking for a new tablet or a new basketball, she asked her friends and family to bring canned goods and toiletries to her birthday party.

On Friday, Madelyn, her three-year-old sister and her parents gave it all to Schuylkill County’s only homeless shelter.

“The big table was full of toiletries, food, clothes, shoes, it was everything,” said Heather Boher, a case manager at Pottsville’s homeless center, My Father’s House.

“It’s a good feeling all around. She feels good, we feel good,” said Madelyn’s mom, Jessica Saunders.

It’s not the first time Madelyn’s donated her birthday presents to those in need. For her sixth birthday she donated to a hospital, and for her fifth birthday to a local animal shelter.

“She’s taken this by herself and kept going with it,” said Saunders.

Her mom tells me it all started when she was just four years old and saw an ASPCA commercial on TV.

“She got very upset, like I think everybody does, and she wanted to help the puppies and kitties so I said this is how you can do that,” said Saunders.

Now, when Madelyn’s birthday is approaching, she asks her mom what local organizations need help.
Her mom writes down a list, and Madelyn makes her birthday wish.

“We were all trying to hold back tears,” said Boher. “My first words were — my faith in humanity has been restored.”

For her next birthday, Madelyn plans to donate to a local food pantry.

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