Manitoba

Winnipeg girl, 5, helps other kids with clothing drive

A five-year-old Winnipeg girl wants other kids to have the same opportunities she does, so she's launched her second clothing drive to help them out.

Braelyn Nurse wants to collect 'fifty hundred' bags of clothes for children in need

A five-year-old Winnipeg girl wants other kids to have the same opportunities she does, so she's launched her second clothing drive to help them out. 1:34

A five-year-old Winnipeg girl wants other kids to have the same opportunities she does, so she's launched her second clothing drive to help them out.

"I am collecting clothes again because it's helping people," said Braelyn Nurse.

Shania Pruden, left, helps Braelyn fold some of the clothes she's collected for the clothing drive. (John Einarson/CBC)
She started the drive on Saturday and has already collected 10 bags of clothes. But she wants more.

"Fifty hundred!" Braelyn said.

Also known as 5,000, it's an ambitious goal. But Braelyn is a determined girl.

On her fifth birthday, she asked for donations of clothing instead of toys. She also delivered four bags of winter gear to the United Way for its Koats for Kids drive.

Her aunt, Shania Pruden, is well-known in the community for lending a hand. She launched a blog in 2014 to raise awareness of mental health, homelessness, poverty and Indigenous issues, as well as discuss ways to take action on those issues. She also does work with the United Way. Pruden has taken Braelyn along with her.

"I'm helping other children," said Braelyn Nurse, about the second clothing drive she's organized for the United Way. (John Einarson/CBC )

"I guess just meeting everyone and hearing stories from a lot of different people just kind of got the attention of Braelyn, and Braelyn was like, 'I want to do something,'" Pruden said.

'She makes all the decisions'

But Braelyn's aunt also wants it to be clear that she, in no way, has pushed Braelyn into this.

"She's kind of the stakeholder. She makes all the decisions. So I take orders from a five-year-old," Pruden said, laughing.

The United Way of Winnipeg's director of strategic initiatives says the work Braelyn is doing helps in more ways than one.

"I think we have a culture here in Winnipeg of sharing and looking after each other," the United Way's Heather Block said of an increase in donation drives. (John Einarson/CBC)
"When families have their needs for clothing taken care of, then they can use that money they have for the basic necessities," Heather Block said.

"The less you have to spend on that, the more you have available for food, for rent, utilities, all of that. So the ripple effects are huge."

Block added that the United Way has seen a surge of people wanting to help out.

"This year, actually, we've had 137 collection drives, which is almost double last year's. Some are Koats for Kids, some are the Christmas Chiropractors pyjama drives, but also people supply school supplies and housing needs for homeless folks who are getting their first home," she said.

With the help of her family, Braelyn is willing to pick up donations until the end of February. She's looking for children's jackets, boots and clothes, but she is also willing to take adult clothing.

"It makes me feel happy."

People who want to donate to Braelyn's clothing drive can contact the United Way or email Pruden at shaniapruden@live.ca.