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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- A second grade lesson about winter leads a local girl to dedicate her life to helping those in need. "I started when I was seven, and I'm 13 now," Makenzie Smith said during an interview Tuesday with WDRB's Jennifer Baileys.
In a six-year time frame, Makenzie has helped 10,000 complete strangers by providing something most of us take for granted. "You can come through and get a coat for everyone in your family and then you can come get scarves hats and gloves," said Makenzie.
The effort is called MaKenzie's Coat Closet. It's set up just like a shopping center once a year, with aisles lining the inside of St. Vincent de Paul in Louisville. Makenzie got the idea from a simple school lesson about the seasons.
"We were talking about how cold the winter was going to be in my second grade class and we started talking about how people who are not as fortunate as us. I came home that day and told my mom and dad I was ready to start something to keep the homeless warm," Makenzie said.
The coat drive collected about 4,000 coats this year. The coats are new and used of every size and color. "All I have is a jacket, and some nights it's pretty cold," said Ted Woodard.
Woodard is like so many lining up to find a coat. He is just trying to make it through the cold months. He said he's overwhelmed with the kindness of a young girl he's never met who will also help him keep his kids warm.
"I get a lot of thanks from everybody that comes through that line and I get to see their smile and they just brighten up my day knowing that I changed somebody's life just giving them a coat," said MaKenzie.
The organization is accepting donations from September to December.
Click HERE to donate or learn more about MaKenzie's Coat Closet.