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When Kaelyn Koebernick Solberg of Spruce Grove visited Laos with her parents several years ago, she was struck by the poverty there, and vowed to do something about it.

Koebernick Solberg, now nine years old, asked each student at her school to donate one item of clothing, with all of it being sent to orphanages in Laos.

Those six hockey bags of items were the beginning of A Shirt, which came to Cold Lake Elementary School (CLES) on April 29 and 30 as volunteers packed boxes of clothes, blankets and towels, as the school partnered with other schools and A Shirt blankets come in handy to cover the kids, who sleep on plywood.

The items donated by students from CLES and Nelson Heights School and St. Dominic School, as well as parents and other community members will be sent to three orphanages and 20 villages in Laos.

community has been overwhelmingly generous, noted A Shirt team member Cecile Cuku,
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whose granddaughter Ashlyn Cuku was influenced by Koebernick Solberg and has now become involved in A Shirt a former Cold Lake resident, said the aim was to fill two Sea Cans will boxes of items. She and her granddaughter will make a trip to Laos just after Christmas to see the people receive the goods.

Cuku soon after arriving in Cold Lake, she realized two things: she hadn brought enough packing boxes, and the packing would require two days instead of one, as originally scheduled. Neither became an issue, as Rocky Welch of R and B Moving Systems donated boxes to the cause and volunteers came both days to help.

be over 10,000 pieces of clothing that will have been donated, said Cuku.

She said organizers of the recent Baby and Kids Sale donated unsold items to the cause. Any items too large to fit the Laotians will go to various charities in Edmonton, so of it goes to waste, Cuku stressed.

She said Ashlyn was affected by her first visit to the orphanages, realizing there are people in need around the world and now stopping to think about what she needs before buying it.

For her efforts, Koebernick Solberg was recently one of the recipients of the 2014 Great Kid Award.
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