“I told her that I gave my jackets to the kids that really needed them,” said Etta, a vivacious 9-year-old who attends Calhoun Elementary.
“I’m just so proud of her,” said Etta’s mother Marsha McDaniel. “I don’t know what else to say.”
In fact, Etta’s confession inspired the whole family to get involved collecting coats for needy children last year.
This year the family collected more than 150 new jackets and coats and 50 or so used coats for kids and adults and they handed them out Christmas Day at Belmont Baptist Church.
“I hope we can pass out enough coats for everyone to be warm,” Etta said a couple of days before Christmas.
Throughout the year, Etta saved her own money and purchased many coats herself (with the family chipping in, of course).
And Etta — who named her endeavor Etta’s Closet — always kept her eyes peeled for coats, no matter the season.
“We were in Panama City last year … and Etta sees a sale rack for coats in J.C. Penny,” said Etta’s sister Marla Hall. “Here we are in April when it’s not time to wear coats and she thinks this would be a perfect time to buy coats for her coat closet.”
Etta’s dad Flipper McDaniel, of Flipper McDaniel & Associates in Calhoun, chuckled.
“Here we are lugging these coats around and everybody’s looking at us,” he said.
When Etta was asked why she decided to do this, her answer was simple:
“I want everyone to be as warm as me,” Etta said.
Flipper battled back tears when he was asked what he thought about his daughter’s desire to help others in this way.
“Well, as a parent, you are really proud,” he said. “It was all her idea and it originated in her heart. Her mom and I, both of her sisters and our whole family are behind her.”
The family doesn’t really have a goal for the number of coats they hope to collect. They continue to accept donations.
“It has really exploded the last few days,” Flipper said.
To donate to Etta’s Closet, drop off new and used coats at Sell All Trading Company, to Marsha at the gift shop in Gordon Hospital or at Moxie Salon in downtown Calhoun.