Most fourth-graders are interested in getting clothes, toys and snacks, but 10-year-old Natalie Ramsey is interested in giving those things away to children who need them.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Joelle Robeson, left, models a bracelet, while Natalie Ramsey holds a keychain. The girls hope to sell the items and donate the money to charity.Natalie, a student at Oregon City’s Alliance Charter Academy, decided she wanted to do some community service. So she made a list and, ultimately, with the help of mom, Charity Ramsey, came up with the Caring Collection. All the items collected will be donated to Holcomb Elementary School.

Donations will be accepted through March from anyone in the community, Ramsey said. People may call the school or drop by ACA, located in the former Park Place Elementary School building in Oregon City.

Natalie has set up boxes near the main entrance to the school and labeled them so donors know where to place gently used children’s clothing, toys and nonperishable food.

“We’ve been getting gently loved Beanie Babies, puzzles and small boxes of Play-Doh,” along with clothing and food, she said.

Teachers at Holcomb have noted there is a need for new underwear for boys, children’s books, shoes for toddlers and new or gently used sweatpants in children’s sizes, Natalie and her mother said.

Donations have been coming in steadily, and Natalie said the support made her feel happy, although her mother said her daughter is “very humble and doesn’t want the attention.”

Ramsey also said the charter academy encourages all students to serve the community in different ways.

In addition, Natalie has come up with another scheme to help others. She and her friend, Joelle Robeson, 10, decided to make bracelets and keychains to sell. They hope to donate the proceeds to a local survivors’ group or a shelter.

The bracelets and keychains are made using colorful parachute cord and a series of knots.

“My mom taught me how to do the square knots, my dad taught me the cobra weave, and I looked online and taught myself to do the regular weave,” Natalie said.

Joelle, who also is in the fourth grade at the charter academy, said her brother was making the bracelets and helps her with them. She said the two girls came up with the idea to sell the craft items in class and are looking for a group to support with the proceeds.

To donate items to the Caring Collection project, contact Alliance Charter Academy at 503-785-8556, or drop off the items during school hours, at 16975 Front St., Oregon City.

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