For many, the winter season will feel a little warmer now in the GTA, thanks to the fundraising efforts of some young people in York Region.

The group, called Kids Who Care International, have been taking on "caring missions" to help their neighbours during the pandemic. The latest was a winter coat drive. 

“We received a request from Syme Woolner [Neighbourhood and Family Centre] for warm clothing for kids age 12 and up, because there’s a lot of parents out there who have found themselves in a hard time,” says Fatima Molu, organizer of Kids Who Care International. “And, because of COVID they requested new items, so we had to raise the funds in order to purchase the items.”

It was up to the kids to find their own creative ways to fundraise. Some baked cookies, while others made and sold bracelets. 

11 year-old Ammar decided to host virtual bingo games for his fundraising. 

“Instead of sitting around and saying ‘I’m bored,’ we could actually do something and help people in the GTA,” he tells CTV News Toronto about his motivation. 

Over the course of a few weeks, the kids collected close to 7,000 dollars in donations. Together, they made a donation drop-off at Syme Woolner. 

“I had no idea that they’d be able to raise that level of funding, and bring that amount of clothing,” says Sharmini Fernando, executive director of Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre. “And I think, especially when children are involved, it does feel extremely gratifying and hopeful.” 

It’s not the first time this group of young people has made a difference in their community. In summer 2020, they held a bicycle drive for a local women’s shelter, and collected baby items for the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre.

Those involved in Kids Who Care International say they’re pleased to be doing their part during the pandemic. 

“I feel so proud and happy about myself that I get to take part,” says Asiyah, who is eight years old.

“It makes me feel happy to help the people who are not able to afford the kind of stuff that they need,” adds Inaayah, also eight years old. 

Molu says there was never a monetary goal with this particular ‘caring mission,’ but that she’s proud of what the kids have accomplished. 

“For me, it was about seeing these children putting in their effort to produce something and raise a little bit of money and be able to donate it, whether it was 5 dollars, or whether it was 1500 dollars,” she says. “These children have done such wonderful work. It’s been a very bonding experience. It’s just an all-around good feeling for everybody.” 

You can find out more about Kids Who Care International here.