MUSKEGON, Mich. — The front porch of Payton, Madelyn, and Josalyn Chittenden’s Muskegon home looks more like an office supply store nowadays.
“Subject notebooks, composition notebooks,” said Payton. “Rulers, erasers.”
Colored pencils, backpacks, and tissues are just some of the items taking over.
“It just shot off,” said Payton.
However, none of it is for sale. Instead, the supplies will be donated to local students.
“I just feel really excited for the people that we’re going to give them to,” said Madelyn.
The family says the idea started about three weeks ago, when Payton was messing around on the computer.
“My wife asked what she was doing and her answer was very clear. She said, ‘I’m starting a non-profit,’” said Joshua Chittenden, the girls’ father.
Joshua says he and his wife didn’t think much of it at first, but after Payton named and created a logo for the organization, which they’re calling Putting Hope in Kids (P.H.I.K.), they realized she meant business.
They asked for donations via social media and they quickly began pouring in from family, friends, and even strangers.
“I actually thought it would be six erasers there, maybe two backpacks there,” said Payton. “Hand sanitizers, three pencil sharpeners, I did not even think it would come close.”
“We didn’t know we would be able to help so many kids,” said Madelyn.
A distribution plan is still in the works, but for now the goal is to give kits filled with the school essentials to the girls’ fellow Reeths Puffer elementary classmates with families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“She hears on the news, and she hears from us, that there are families that are struggling, and there are a lot of financial issues and people are loosing jobs,” said Joshua.
If items continue to come to their front door though, they want to send supplies to every student or even ones outside
“Like the more people donate, the more kids we can help,” said Madelyn. “We know that they’re going to feel so happy when they come and find out the school supplies are theirs now.”
“We try to convey to them that we need to help people, and we do what we can,” said Joshua. “In this pandemic time, we really need to come together. We really need to help each other as much as we can.”
Reeths-Puffer Schools Superintendent Steve Edwards sent FOX17 the following statement:
“It is pretty incredible and inspiring that, during such a difficult time for people, these young students have sacrificed time, energy, and resources to give to others. It is a great lesson from which all of us can learn.”
The Chittenden’s are still collecting items. To buy an item off of their Amazon Wishlist, click here. To donate money, people can Venmo PHIK2020.