Birthday girl celebrates with drive-thru collection


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Leia Garcia celebrated her fifth birthday by collecting donations for the Madera County Animal Shelter during a drive thru event on Friday.

 

Continuing a tradition that started a couple of years ago, 5-year-old Leia Garcia celebrated her birthday Friday with a drive-thru parade of cars to help benefit the Madera County Animal Shelter.


Garcia began her philanthropy two years ago when she collected food items for the Madera Rescue Mission and than held another fundraiser last year to make hygiene baggies for the homeless.


This year, she told her mother, Angela Garcia, she wanted to help give animals a birthday present.


“Animals have birthdays, too,” Leia told her mom.


Thus, came the idea to help benefit the animal shelter with Leia’s “Are you Kitten Me? I’m Turning 5,” birthday fundraiser.


Garcia’s original goal was to collect 105 items. However, a week before the event, she received more than 100 blankets and towels so she increased her goal to 205.


As of Monday afternoon, Garcia had 234 items collected. That total increased by 101 after collecting from a drop box at Rooted Nutrition.


“Leia was jumping up and down, ecstatic to receive all of the stuff from donations. She is so excited to deliver the items,” Angela Garcia said.


In addition to 102 blankets and towels, Leia received 64 pet toys, 31 packages of cat food and treats, 28 packages of dog food and treats, seven bowls, four leashes, two bags of potty pads and a huge stack of newspapers.


“It makes me feel good that my five-year-old daughter came up with this fundraiser for her birthday,” Angela said. “She brings me joy in life that she cares for the community at such a young age. She is the one that wanted to do something for her birthday.”


Garcia said that people dropped off items before, during and after the parade, and also at Rooted Nutrition shop.


“Rooted really stepped up and helped us out,” Garcia said.


Now, though, Garcia said she is done collecting. She is now worrying about a wedding. Leia and Angela delivered the items to the Madera County Animal Shelter on Tuesday.