BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Evie Grace Coker and her mom, Keri, make a lot of gleeful shopping trips. But the toys aren’t for Evie Grace, they’re for other kids.
Actually, they’re for kids the 6-year-old has never even met.
“When Evie Grace gets something in her mind, she runs with it,” Keri said.
What she ran with was an idea that started with a family trip to a Barons game. During the 7th inning stretch, she and her father witnessed the new tradition of fans waving to patients at Children’s of Alabama.
“That’s where it kind of started, she wanted to know how she could donate her toys to Children’s,” Josh Coker, Evie Grace’s father, said.
“Because I thought they didn’t have toys. I knew that they did, but I didn’t know like, how much," Evie Grace said.
After reaching out to Children’s, the Cokers quickly learned the hospital can only take donations of new toys for safety and health reasons. But that didn’t stop the little 6-year-old with the big heart. She said they’ll just buy new toys.
“I told her OK, but she would have to come up with the money,” Josh said.
So little Evie Grace went to work, penning a sweet letter to folks, explaining her plan and would they please donate money for the cause. She also raised some money from a lemonade stand. Whatever she could come up with.
Eventually the money started coming in. And it hasn’t stopped.
“Most of them are people we know,” Keri said. “Family, friends.”
“People I don’t know,” Evie Grace interjects."
“Some of them she doesn’t know,” Keri adds.
With funding and a budget in hand, Evie Grace and her mother started going on regular shopping trips.
Now the family’s dining room has become a temporary warehouse of toys, dolls, games, baby outfits, you name it. It is all precisely organized by Evie Grace, right down to the creative pillow cases she loved picking out for the kids.
“I like the pillow cases. You can design your own pillow case,” she said.
The Cokers are scheduled to drop off the toys and other items to Children’s by the end of today. But her parents hope it’s not the end of the influence their little 6-year-old girl has had on others with her industrious gesture.
“You know, one thing we’ve tried to stress to Evie Grace is kind of letting your light shine. And so maybe it’ll inspire other people to do something. You know, she’s inspired me to be a better person. We hope that through you showing it, other people will be inspired to help,” Josh said.