SIDNEY — With the first snow of the 2016 winter season flying, a welcome delivery of hats and gloves was made at Whittier Elementary School.
Three brothers — Chad Nolan, 16, Calib Nolan, 15, and Christian Nolan, 13, all of Sidney — gave back to the elementary school they attended by helping the current students who might not own a hat or a pair of gloves. Chad is a sophomore and Calib is a freshman at Sidney High School and Christian is a seventh-grader at Sidney Middle School.
“This is the eighth year the boys have collected hats and gloves,” said their mom, Jennifer Nolan. The boys are also the sons of Chad Nolan Sr. “Chad, who is autistic, attended a soup kitchen with us when he was around 8 years old. He asked why some of the kids didn’t have hats and we explained to him that they might not have the money for them.
“He said he was going to do something about it,” she said.
And with that decision, their hat and glove project was born.
During the eight years since they started their project, the boys have collected 500 hats and gloves. Many of the hats are homemade knitted hats made by members of St. James Church in Piqua.
“We attend St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Sidney and it partners with St. James in Piqua,” said Mrs. Nolan. “They have a knitting club so they make hats for the boys.
“Two of the boys are autistic,” she said. “They stand up in church and announce it at church that they are collecting gloves and hats.”
All the items the boys donate to the school are new or handmade.
“A lot of time, the kids come in and their hands are bright red because they don’t have gloves on,” said Matt Norviel, a counselor at the school. “We don’t have a budget for it (hats and gloves). Year after year, the boys help us.
“We give the students the hats and gloves and send them home so they can be warm,” he said. “One year, they even brought us coats for the kids.”
Mrs. Nolan said they always donate the hats and gloves after Christmas so the school knows who did or didn’t receive the items as Christmas presents.
“It’s wonderful,” said Principal Keith Helmlinger. “Some of our kids walk up to 2 miles to school with no hats or gloves.
“I can’t let a kid go out without gloves on,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll come in with just one glove on but they go home with two gloves.”
The hats and gloves, said Mrs. Nolan, are blessed at Christmas during a church service. The blessing also includes the children who will be wearing the items.
“We’ve donated in the past to an oncology ward and a soup kitchen in Vandalia. We also gave them to a woman’s abuse shelter and homeless shelter,” she said.
But after a few years, they decided to donate the hats and gloves to the elementary school that all three boys attended.
Mrs. Nolan said the family collects hats and gloves all year long. Anyone wishing to donate to the boys’s project can contact the Nolans at 937-710-4324 or drop the items off at the church.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.