7-year-old Grant Park girl erasing school lunch debt with handcrafted ornaments

A Grant Park girl is decking the halls with a good deed. Through her own ornament sales, she's eliminating school lunch debt.

Paisley Riechers, 7, is serving up kindness one ornament at a time. 

"So moms and dads could save a little extra money by not trying to make more just to pay for a kids lunch at school," Paisley said.

The idea started with her cousin, Nick Huffman. A special guest on Good Day Chicago several years ago for his efforts in donating eight wheelbarrows of pop tabs to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Nick's giving snowballed, turning into an annual used ornament collection and re-sale at his bar with proceeds wiping out lunch debt at the local school.

"He passed away last year and he always did this at Christmastime, but we were really grief-stricken so we just sat out last year," said Lacey Riechers, Paisley’s mom.

Paisley was determined to carry on her cousin's giving spirit.

"I wanted to keep doing it because it helped me remember him and his memory," Paisley said.

The lunch debt at her local school district, Grant Park elementary, middle and high schools, stands at $1,700. This holiday season she's already raised $3,000 to wipe it out.

"Paisley paints them and after she paints them, we put this string and a bell on them and she actually puts her name on the back of them," said Lacey.

Paisley has sold 750 hand-crafted ornaments for a donation so far.

"I hope it teaches people to remember to be kind all the time," Paisley said.

Ornaments can be purchased at Wicks Bicycle Shop in Grant Park, Sollitt Tap in Beecher or the Grant Park Village Hall. Every dollar raised goes to eliminating school lunch debt.

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