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Newberg native Cole Shelton donates his hard-earned cash to Habitat for Humanity.

COURTESY PHOTO: JOHANNA SHELTON - Newberg youth Cole Shelton donated the $20 he earned doing chores to the local Habitat for Humanity during Christmas.

Sending along a $20 bill and a personalized note, local 9-year-old Cole Shelton made a donation to Habitat for Humanity just before Christmas that caught the attention of the nonprofit's volunteers.

Cole's note read, "Even though I am only nine, I think the people you help need this more than I do." Its message brought smiles to the faces of some Habitat volunteers, who saw the donation as emblematic of a giving attitude during the holiday season.

Cole's mother, Johanna Shelton, said her son's idea to donate sprang up when the family received a mailer from Habitat.

"We got one of those little envelopes that Habitat sends out," she said. "Cole has been really interested in being on the 'nice' list this year, and so he saw the letter and asked if we could do this. He talked about doing a certain amount of money, but he only had a couple bucks, so we asked him to do his weekly chores to raise a bit more money.

"I gave him a bunch of chores to do and we got it up to $20. We took a special trip to get stamps and send it off at the post office, and I showed him how that process works before he stuck the letter in the box. He just was happy to be able to help the community of Newberg."

Cole then filled out the form necessary to donate and became curious about how the folks at Habitat would know who donated. He decided to add the note to his donation as an extra detail.

"As he was filling out the form, he was wondering if he [had] to put his phone number or email on there, but we decided that he could write a little note to make it more personal," Johanna Shelton said. "He wrote out what he wanted to write and stuck it in there. Also, the envelope definitely looked like it was from a kid, so the note maybe confirmed that for the people who would end up opening it."

The donation was a big moment for young Shelton, who has been asked in school in recent weeks about how he and his classmates were giving back to the community. This is one way — through the effort of sending out the envelope as well as completing the chores necessary to earn the money — for him to embrace the feeling of charity during a challenging time for all.

"It really is the first time he's stepped out of his comfort zone and it's encouraged his thinking about helping other people. He asked a bunch of questions about what Habitat did, and I explained to him how they help people who need to fix up or have a house built in the community," his mother said. "He's pretty reserved and for a kid like that to do something on their own, it's really great to see him help them out. He understands that he can help even though he's just a kid."

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