OWOSSO HOMELESS ANGELS DIRECTOR Shelly Ochodnicky accepts donations from 9-year-old Ryder Elwell of Owosso. Beside Ryder is best friend, Levi Davidson, and older sister, Madison Elwell.
The Owosso Homeless Angels campus/shelter is located on N. Park Street in downtown Owosso. Ryder chose Homeless Angels as the nonprofit she wanted to support, gathering donations through letters she mailed out to friends and family in place of birthday gifts.
Madison added to the Homeless Angels contribution by donating her bedding, a vanity and her bedroom decorations – hoping the items will go to another young girl heading into permanent housing with her family.
Madison and Ryder Elwell of Owosso, two young sisters leading by example, both recently collected donations for their favorite, local nonprofit organizations. Sacrificing traditional birthday/holiday gifts, the girls mailed out letters to family and friends and requested monetary donations in support of Homeless Angels of Owosso and the Shiawassee Humane Society (SHS).
Madison Elwell, just recently turned 11, attends a nearby elementary school. When she was in 3rd-grade, Madison was particularly inspired by an assigned “Kindness” project. While in 3rd-grade, she had a birthday party and collected donations for the Shiawassee Humane Society. The family has three rescue dogs, so Madison is completely enamored with rescues and passionate about supporting SHS on Bennington Road in Owosso. Giving up her gifts again this year, Madison collected donations totaling roughly $570. She also gifted the shelter with blankets, pet food, toys and new collars – and bonus – in the process, Madison, along with Ryder and their best friend and helper, Levi Davidson, were permitted some quality time with the shelter felines.
“The staff and the animals extend a heartfelt thank you to some very special young ladies,” shared SHS Adoption Coordinator Lori Beard, who was on hand to accept the donation. “Rather than receiving Christmas and birthday gifts for themselves, they requested donations for nonprofit organizations … SHS is blessed to have supporters like Madison and these fine young ladies. We couldn’t do it without you.”
SHS Executive Director Patrice Martin offered, “Some of the biggest fans of the Shiawassee Humane Society are actually little … in stature, that is! Madison and Ryder Elwell are two such fans. These selfless sisters chose charity over ‘stuff’ by donating cash and equivalent supplies to the Shiawassee Humane Society and Homeless Angels in Owosso. We are forever grateful to these budding philanthropists as they represent the future of giving in Shiawassee County.”
Ryder Elwell turned 9-years-old in December. Attending 3rd-grade at the same school as her older sister, Ryder was also inspired by the thought of doing a “Kindness” project. However, the pandemic altered many school-related plans for the young girl. Still wanting to give back, Ryder decided on Homeless Angels of Owosso as her chosen nonprofit to support. Through letter writing, Ryder was able to collect $720 for the Homeless Angels shelter in downtown Owosso. Ryder felt that supporting Homeless Angels was more important than receiving gifts for her birthday, wanting to offer consideration and kindness to others that are less fortunate.
Courtney Scheid, the mother of the two sisters, is rightfully proud of her children. “I imagine they will continue doing these things,” Scheid said. “They are passionate about it, and connected and involved in the community. They are always making gifts for people.”
Homeless Angels Director Shelly Ochodnicky shared, “We appreciate Ryder stepping up to help out our people who are needing the most. It is so awesome to see a girl her age wanting to give back. It’s because of people like Ryder and her sister, we are able to keep the doors open.” Ochodnicky also acknowledged the great parenting being offered by Scheid in helping raise children so driven toward kindness, giving and support of the community.