Aaliyah Rucker in her living room full of blankets
AUSTELL, Ga -- The young CEO of an Austell non-profit that distributes blankets to the homeless and cancer patients was chosen as 11Alive's Person of the Week.
Aaliyah Rucker is only nine years old. She visited the 11Alive studio for a live interview on Saturday morning.
She came up with the name and idea for her charity A Touch of Warmth. Her family's living room in their Austell apartment is the warehouse for blankets collected to distribute to homeless shelters and hospitals. "I really like passing out the blankets because I love to see the smiles on their faces and to me that's really special," Rucker said.
She got the idea when she was four years old when she and her mother were cleaning out a closet. They found a blanket that Aaliyah loved and didn't want her mother to give away. Stacey Spade told her daughter what every mother would tell their child: "Some children don't have any blankets."
"That was just like an 'aha' moment that I needed to give blankets to everybody in the world," Rucker said.
She enlisted the help of relatives and friends and collected more than 160 blankets that first year. By 2011 A Touch of Warmth registered with the Secretary of State's office as a 501(c) 3 non-profit. It allows A Touch of Warmth to take tax deductible donations and opens it up to corporate sponsors. The children's clothing company Carters is the charity's first corporate sponsor.
Rucker has delivered more than 3,000 blankets since its inception. This year she set a goal to collect 500 blankets by December 1st. "On the news I saw a minimum of 500 people sleep on the streets every night, so that's basically where I got my number from," Rucker said.
It's not December 1st yet and she has collected more than 600 blankets surpassing her goal. "I'm very proud of her," said Rucker's mother.
With her daughter as CEO bringing blankets to everyone in the world doesn't seem like much of a stretch.
A Touch of Warmth recently launched a website where you can make donations or you can make a donation by phone by calling 770- 608-8163.
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