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Grandma’s Gifts

Thirteen million dollars. What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear that amount? A lifetime supply of chocolates? Books? Clothes? When Emily Douglas-McNab thinks about $13 million, she thinks about how much her organization has donated in goods and services to people in need.

In 1993, when she was 11 years old, Douglas-McNab (pictured second from left) started a nonprofit organization called Grandma's Gifts. She wanted to honor her grandmother, who had recently died.

Douglas-McNab grew up in Powell, Ohio. When she was very young, she and her family would visit her grandmother in southeastern Ohio. The area, which includes parts of several neighboring states, is known as Appalachia and has long had a high poverty rate. Douglas-McNab and her family brought toys, food, and coats whenever they visited. She remembers taking food to people living in tents. The children had never been to a zoo or on a vacation. Some kids didn’t even have books.



Douglas-McNab says that young people can make a huge difference, adding that she called businesses for donations when she first started her organization. “Kids have a lot of power,” she says.

Grandma's Gifts accepts any type of donation, which Douglas-McNab believes is one of the reasons it’s so successful. She once accepted 1,500 frozen turkeys! In addition to donations of food and other supplies, the group relies on volunteers' efforts. One year, Kelsey McIntire (far right in the photo) held a raffle and raised more than $3,000 for school supplies and new book bags for kids in need.

Volunteering has given Douglas-McNab a sense of purpose. “If we all stopped and did something good,” she says, “even for an hour a week, people’s lives would be different.”

Photo courtesy of Grandma’s Gifts