the last six years, Ashley Martin and her sister, Abbey, have collected
coats and blankets to make sure no one in Scott County feels the
“I talked with my mom and heard about all the
people in need,” said Ashley Martin, Scottsburg Middle School
seventh-grade student. “That’s mostly how I started it. I felt bad and
When Ashley Martin was in second grade at
Vienna-Finley Elementary School, she spoke with Holly Asdell, school
social worker, about starting a coat drive.
“Her mom contacted me
stating Ashley was really serious about wanting to help, but she wasn’t
sure how to go about it and wondered if I could help ask for donations
through the school. Of course, I wanted to help,” Asdell said. “It’s not
often that a student comes to me or another adult saying, ‘I want to do
something about this; I have to help in some way.’”
Ashley Martin created a plan, where they could collect gently-used coats
of any size and would take one month’s proceeds of the Friday popcorn
sales to donate to the Scott County Clearinghouse. At VFES, the
Parent-Teacher Organization pops popcorn on Fridays to sell to students
for $1; the money goes toward various local agencies that the students
vote for annually. Each year, the students vote to give money toward the
Martin sisters’ coat and blanket drive.
“The students really like
to help and this is something that they can understand when they donate
a coat or buy popcorn, they know that their donation or popcorn money
is going directly to helping someone stay warm during the winter,”
Because the coats and money are donated to the Scott
County Clearinghouse, the collected coats and the new coats — which are
purchased with the popcorn sale proceeds — go to not just any families
with students at VFES, but they go to families and individuals
throughout Scott County.
“Here at VFES, we teach students about
Random Acts of Kindness and how giving to others not only helps other
people but also helps you feel better about yourself,” Asdell said. “The
students do get excited about the coat drive. They love to participate.
When they put their coat in the donation box, you can see the big smile
spread across their face.”
When Ashley Martin entered the
sixth-grade and started going to Scottsburg Middle School, her sister,
Abbey Martin, continued her family’s tradition of collecting coats to
donate to the Clearinghouse. But, Abbey added her own spin on the drive
this year — she wanted to collect blankets.
“It will make other
people happy, and it is fun to give other stuff to other people,” said
Abbey Martin, who is a fifth-grade student at VFES.
Abbey Martin collected 26 blankets, 14 pairs of gloves, five hats, and
53 coats. In the six years the Martin sisters have orchestrated the
drive, more than $2,000 and more than 400 coats have been collected,
Ashley Martin said.
“I plan to carry this on through high school,” Ashley Martin said. “I feel good about it.”
2014, Ashley Martin’s efforts were recognized by Mayor Bill Graham and
the City of Scottsburg when she won the Mayor’s Good Neighbor Award in
the Individual Youth category. The award is given to groups and
individuals who dedicate their time and resources to make Scottsburg a
better place to live and work.
“I was really excited,” Ashley Martin said about winning the award. “I was up against high schoolers.”
and Abbey Martin’s dedication to keeping the people of Scott County
warm during the winter months embodies the Golden Rule and strong
character. At Scott County School District 2, the Martin sisters’ story
is our story. Your story matters. You matter.