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HOOVER – For a second year, a 12-year-old girl is giving back during the holiday season.

Lucy Helland, a sixth grader at Hoover's Bumpus Middle School, is collecting money to purchase pillows for foster children. Helland has more than doubled her haul from 2021, collecting nearly 600 pillows this year.

“I’m so thankful for a community that’s willing to help with this project again," said Helland. "This is the second year that I have held a pillow drive for Alabama foster children. Last year we reached our goal of 250, and this year we are getting close to our goal of 600."

The pillows will go to Garrett’s Place, a non-profit organization in Bessemer that provides assistance to foster children.

Pillows Lucy Helland
Lucy Helland has purchased nearly 600 pillows for Garrett's Place, a non-profit that provides assistance to foster children in Alabama.

Helland, who currently holds the title of Miss Yellowhammer State Preteen, has traveled the nation competing in state and national competitions. She said she was inspired to compete after watching a pageant on television at a young age.

Although she spends much of her time on the stage, dressing up and smiling for the cameras, Helland has stayed humble and enjoys giving back to others.

"As a 12-year-old in our society today, I think we take the simple things for granted," she said. "I'm also thankful for Garrett's Place for allowing me the opportunity to serve the foster care families in our state. I'm thankful for USA National Miss pageants for giving me the platform to help."

Her heart for giving doesn't just include the pillow drive every year. Helland also started "Lucy's Letters." She sends handwritten letters to people to make them feel good. The inspiration behind Lucy's Letters came after her parents told her how their love story began. Her father was in the military when he met her mom, and the pair had to send handwritten letters to each other during deployments. At one point, Lucy was able to read some of those letters, and it struck a chord in her that she couldn't ignore.

Helland will deliver the pillows to Garrett's Place on December 2. If you want to donate, you can Venmo Lucy's mom, @Stacy-Helland.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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