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8-year-old's charity welcomes 3rd year of Christmas giving

By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof  |  Posted Nov 5th, 2014 @ 12:15pm


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Correction: An earlier version of this story said 100 percent of proceeds from the Which Wich fundraiser would go to Hailee's Hope for Charity, as originally reported by the source. That number was actually 50 percent. Additionally, admission is still required to the Grizzlie's game, but collections will take place at the game.

MURRAY — For the third year in a row, Hailee Strandgard will give adults and children without homes something to celebrate on Christmas.

In 2012, Hailee’s mother Trishelle Strandgard told her then 6-year-old daughter about the conditions of people at a day clinic for the homeless that she was interning for. Hailee asked her mother if she could give them all her toys.

Since their first pickup truck full of donations in 2012, the Strandgard family has donated nearly $14,000 to various charities in the Salt Lake Valley. This year, they hope to raise $20,000 for their Christmas donation and expand Hailee’s Hope for Homeless to a year-long program.

Nick Strandgard, Hailee’s father, said they just got non-profit status with the state and federal governments and have already started fundraising for their Christmas goal.

He said his children, Hailee and 6-year-old Brayden, are the driving force behind the charity.

“They’re probably the main reason we’ve had any success,” he said. “With the way it started, without any of us getting involved and the complete selflessness … it tugs on the heartstrings. And nothing gets done without the approval of a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old.”

Nick Strandgard urged people to give anything — as his daughter did three years ago — no matter how small, to help.

“Don’t feel like you can’t make a difference," he said. "It’s better to do something than nothing.”

For Hailee, giving is pretty simple. Her goal?

“To give everybody a sandwich,” she said. “(Because) they’re not used to having sandwiches.”

While the donations benefit other people, Hailee has also gained some memorable experiences.

“Last year, at the House of Hope, I gave some people some Christmas,” Hailee said. “And this lady said if I hadn’t given her Christmas, she would have had to tell the kids why Santa didn’t come.”

That drive to share what they have impresses Nick Strandgard the most.

“I’ve got two kids who are willing to do whatever they can for people they’ve never met,” he said.

Hailee’s Hope for Homeless will be collecting donations through Dec. 6. The family is partnering with the Grizzlies on Nov. 14 to collect peanut butter and jelly at the entrance. During halftime, people can throw winter clothing out onto the ice. Which Wich will also hold a fundraising night Nov. 19, donating 50 percent of proceeds to Hailee’s Hope for Homeless.

Those interested in donating can contact Nick Strandgard at 801-833-9099 or strandgard.nick@gmail.com.

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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof
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