CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A Champaign teenager is making a difference in her community by simply passing out backpacks to kids who need some extra support.
Claire Monahan is teaming up with the Champaign Fire and Police departments. She is making backpacks to give to kids in scary situations. She calls it Bag of Comfort.
“I’m just trying to help these kids feel good about themselves,” Claire Monahan said.
16-year-old Claire Monahan is going out of her way to help others.
“When I’m struggling I like to have something for myself and these kids might not have that. I’m thinking like something if they’re in a house fire, all their stuff just, they don’t have it anymore. So they’ll have this that’s like their own that they can hold onto,” Monahan said.
Monahan is teaming up with the Champaign Police and Fire departments to give backpacks to kids in traumatic situations. The backpacks will include blankets or stuffed animals, granola bars, waters and more.
“Just so there’s something that kids have that’s theirs. Something like for a traumatic time and makes them just feel safe and loved during like something that’s difficult for them,” Monahan said.
Monahan came up with the idea on her own. Then reached out to the different departments.
“Claire came to me with this idea. It was her idea all on her own, to get these backpacks to these kids and I thought it was a wonderful idea,” Jeremy Hunt, Champaign Fire Department, said.
Jeremy Hunt with Champaign Fire Department says these backpacks will be beneficial for kids who may have lost all their belongings or who are going through a tough situation.
“A lot of times when we go to these incidents they’re sort of the forgotten victims,” Hunt said.
He says this project is something that did not just happen over night.
“To see somebody her age so young to put something together like this, to take on a project on her own, whose so mature about it and really have that compassion for the children, the community. Its something that’s to be commended,” Hunt said.
He says its great to see a 16-year-old caring so much for those around her.
“It’s just refreshing to see somebody like Claire, still very young, young adult, in the community, taking the initiative to make a difference,” Hunt said.
Monahan’s gofundme has raised around $1400. The link is below.