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Mariemont high schooler gathering toys for children in homeless shelter

Posted at 4:30 AM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-13 09:55:23-05

CINCINNATI -- When McKenzie Gampfer's mom asked her to make a Christmas list, she decided she'd like to donate to people who are homeless. 

Now, McKenzie, a 17-year-old Mariemont High School junior, is helping to make sure children staying at the Bethany House emergency shelter receive Christmas presents. 

"I was talking with my parents and we decided to make a GoFundme," she said.  

Bethany House is one of four emergency homeless shelters for families in Cincinnati. 

"Right now, we're running about 120 to 130 kids on any given day," Bethany House Executive Director Susan Schiller said. 

McKenzie started a GoFundme page to raise money to buy gifts for the children. She said her initial goal was $200, but she has already raised more than $500 and is now aiming for $1,000. 

"For her to do something so selflessly, altruistically for others, as I said, it speaks well for her and we're very proud of her," Mariemont High School Principal Jim Renner said. 

McKenzie also has received toy donations from friends and strangers. She plans to go shopping for more toys this weekend and deliver them to Bethany House next week. Then, moms will be able to select a gift they know their children will like.

McKenzie isn't the only one donating toys to the shelter for the holidays, but her drive is helpful because of the increased number of families in the shelter.

"It's amazing what one person can do," Schiller said.