Lots of boys want video games or electronics when they turn 13, but one Buford Middle School student says his birthday wish is just for every child to have a warm coat this winter.
Ashton Ryan is celebrating his 13th birthday this Sunday, and says instead of presents, he wants to collect coats he can donate. It's an act of kindness he says he can carry on for years to come.
Ashton is inviting the community to his second annual birthday coat drive - an idea he says sparked in elementary school.
“There was a boy with just a T-shirt on and I was about to literally take off my coat and give it to him,” said Ashton.
The event will feature some of Ashton's favorite things. “Bounce arounds, bands, fun activities, maybe even a clown,” he said.
The goal is to give kids in need a layer of warmth and love.
“My inspiration is God, and he likes helping people, so I like helping people too,” said Ashton.
Ashton's mother Kim says they work with Charlottesville City Schools and area nonprofits to get an idea of what the need is.
“He is all about doing good for everybody. You know I watch this kid and I learn so much from him being my son, and he's an inspiration,” said Kim.
Last year, Ashton collected more than 560 coats through his celebration. This year, he's hoping for even more.
“Ashton is quite a leader and it does a mom's heart good, to know that your son is really, or your child, is just that sweet,” said Kim.
Ashton hopes the coat drive will bring lots of smiles.
“I think the best thing would be having everybody come together and everybody getting a coat,” said Ashton.
The festivities will kick off at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon in front of CiCi's Pizza at the Seminole Square Shopping Center.
You can still donate if you can't make the party. For more information, click here.
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