How did you come up with the idea for a coat drive?
I knew that winter was coming up, and that’s the worst season for homeless people staying outside in the cold Minnesota weather — Minnesota weather is crazy, it can become really good one day, and the next day you can have a snowstorm. It’s something I wanted to do for the homeless people just so they can stay cozy and warm in the winter.
How did you plan the coat drive?
I made this plan because in the beginning of this year, right after I was done with the last project, I was at the homeless shelter. I hung out with the people and was passing out pieces of pizza. I was thinking about what the next plan was — I’ve always thought about a clothing drive, but then I was busy with school and work. It just kept getting pushed back and then it got to a point where we needed to get it done by a certain time. I wanted there to be a winter coat drive right before the start of the semester. I was talking in the summer with assistant principal Ms. Busse and principal Paddock. They gave me a plan to do it and advised me to join up with a student group. I started talking with Student Council. They helped me out a lot, then we got a better plan for the coat drive. Then, it kept getting closer and closer to the deadline.
Did anyone else help you run the fundraiser?
A lot of my close friends, they all know about it. They’re always down to help out, do anything they can. It got down to the last day of October. I was like, ‘I’ve got to get this done. I have to get these boxes out.’ A lot of the custodians were a part of it too — providing me with boxes here. I was getting big help from everybody.
How did you promote it?
I made this flyer. I started posting them around the most populated places in school. I tried to spread the word through the Pocket Change Foundation Instagram page. I sent it to the Student Council. I sent it to a lot of my close friends too, so they could post it through their stories. I even talked in the morning announcement last week.
What was the overall reaction to the coat drive?
To be honest, I expected way more. I was thinking of filling each bucket that’s placed in school. There were two buckets. I was planning on getting them full at least once a week, but we only filled the first bucket in front of the office.
Could you have promoted it more or run the drive any better?
They gave me a limit to how many flyers that could be in school. If I had more flyers, it would have been better.
What impact does this have on a community?
I started getting people to do the same. (To) get them to pursue their passion, build a community (like the Foundation) because this world sees a lot of hate going around. It’s also (getting people) to look at the good things, try to do good things.
What do you plan to do in the future?
In the future, for the Pocket Change Foundation, my main goal is one day having my own shelter and ending homelessness in Minneapolis. Also getting the Pocket Change Foundation as an actual established organization (is a) big goal — (making it) something a little bit bigger and making something that’s actually organizing a lot of events.
For more information about the Pocket Change Foundation, visit its Instagram page.