SANDY — Hailee Strandgard’s desire to give homeless people a Christmas started with a lot of questions.
Last year, 7-year-old Hailee’s mother, Trishell Strandgard, was doing an internship at a day clinic for the homeless. Naturally caring and also curious, she “just asked a lot of questions” of her mother about homelessness. She wanted to know about them and their situation, and particularly, if Santa visited them.
“It made me sad that they just didn’t have anything,” Hailee said.
Wanting to help them, she approached her mother.
“She asked me ‘Mom, can I give them all my toys for Christmas?’ I told her she could give them whatever she wanted. And she said, ‘Do you think I could ask other people to help?’ ” Trishell said. “It was really heart-touching to know that my 6-year-old daughter was so in-tune with other people’s needs. I was shocked at first. Most 6-year-olds don’t think of stuff like that. I just cried.”
Trishell said her daughter is always caring for other people, wanting to give her allowance to people on the corner and is generous to people in need.
“She’s a wonderful little girl and we’re blessed to have her in our life. She helps me and her dad be better people every day,” Trishell said.
In 2012, the family put together a charity drive, gathering blankets, toys and stuffed animals. They gathered about a pickup truck bed full of donations for the Road Home.
This year, the first-grader hopes to gather more than last year, as well as get enough donations to make 150 sandwiches for the Salvation Army. The Strandgards are collecting blankets, toys and stuffed animals again, in addition to deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and canned food. So far, they have collected about twice what they did last year.
“She’s just worked really hard to make it bigger than last year. She’s really worried about people going without for Christmas,” Trishell said.
The Strandgards are collecting the items now through Dec. 3. They can be reached by phone call or text at 801-833-9101 or 801-833-9099, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.