As the countdown to Christmas continues, one local girl, with a crown and sash, is focused on making a difference.
“I just really really love my community, and I want to give back as much as I possibly can this year,” Ony’Khah Johnson of Burlington said.
At just 9 years old, Johnson, the current Junior Miss Burlington, and former Lil’ Miss Iowa, looked out for foster kids in need.
“They don’t have a big suitcase when they travel. They can sometimes just have a plastic garbage bag, and that just made me kind of want to help,” she said.
She collected over 500 masks and sponsored Christmas for kids in need through Fostering Hope in Scott County’s toy drive. Her mom says, she loves seeing her daughter pay it forward.
“It’s meant so much to our family. She has impressed us in so many ways and she has the biggest heart,” Maggie Johnson said.
The group gave gifts to over 80 kids this year, and is using the masks to fill a need for their emergency placement bags.
“When you get a kid, that’s not something you think about. You think about getting them underwear and socks, you don’t think about getting them a mask. So we said hey, let’s fill that need too,” Alyssa Valdez-Quinlan, the group’s co-founder said.
Co-founder Glenda Tritten said they were overwhelmed with gratitude.
“We had more sponsors than we did kids this year, it’s amazing,” she said. “So many people stepped up to help.”
As for Johnson, she wants to remind others to give back.
“I want everyone to remember that the community has given us so much, and we just really need to be thankful for it,” Johnson said.