By the numbers
Here is breakdown of the items Nicole McCloskey, 7, donated to the Forsyth County Head Start center:
44 packages of diapers (4,105 diapers)
Several packages of wipes (4,120 sheets)
9 coats for kindergarten children
13 pairs of mittens
8 children’s hats
2 ear muffs
24 pairs of socks
93 one-piece outfits
20 hand-knitted baby hats
34 tubes of toothpaste
6 baby blankets
Nicole McCloskey knows that some wishes take work to make them come true.
The 7-year-old lay awake one night thinking about her Easter wishbone request, worrying that if she told anyone it wouldn’t be granted.
Her mother, Dawn McCloskey, said if the wish was something they could make happen, then her daughter should share it.
“She was wishing for $1,000 — $500 for mommy and daddy and $500 for needy children,” her mom recalled.
“I said, ‘You don’t have to wish for $500 for mommy and daddy. But the other $500, we’ll see what we can do.’”
Nearly five months later, Nicole McCloskey stood in front of $1,000 worth of items donated to the nonprofit Head Start in Cumming.
The program, operated by Ninth District Opportunity in Gainesville, offers child care and support for 277 families in Forsyth County, as well as a pregnancy women’s program that works with local high schools.
“We actually surpassed her dream,” Dawn McCloskey said.
The Forsyth County girl and her mother spent three to four hours on Saturdays over the past few months selling snacks, drinks and baked goods at City Produce to raise money for the cause.
“Some people are very generous, and they gave me a lot,” she said, adding that her biggest donation day at the stand in Cumming netted $130 over Labor Day weekend.
Nicole McCloskey, a student at Ivy League Montessori School, used the money she raised to go shopping several times.
She bought 44 packages of diapers, plus wipes, clothing and more for the families in need at Head Start, focusing on items that can be bought with food stamps.
She became quite the bargain shopper too, clipping coupons and reading advertisements to find the best deals, Dawn McCloskey said.
Her daughter also received several donations of items from the community: toothpaste and toothbrushes from a local dentist; baby hats hand-knitted by a woman at her church; and baby blankets her mother made.
Debbie Neal, director of the Forsyth County Head Start center, said she’d never received such a large donation.
“I was really very shocked,” Neal said. “But in some ways I wasn’t. The first time Nicole came, there was a lot of sincerity in what she was wanting to do.”
People often stop in with big plans to help an organization, but then can’t always come through, Neal said.
She added that a donation like this will greatly help the local families who Head Start serves.
Its operating costs are covered by grant funding, Neal said, but there’s no extra money to buy items the families need.
Typically, she will refer them to other agencies throughout the county.
With the recent donation, however, the families will be able to access items they need with one stop.
Nicole McCloskey chose to help Head Start because she wanted to help kids in need.
She began by raising money for the national organization, Feed the Children, but decided to shift gears to a local nonprofit due to the high shipping cost.
Though she’s already exceeded her goal, she plans to continue fundraising for Head Start, making wishes come true for other local families.