Local teen shows what Thanksgiving is all about

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's the season of giving and one middle schooler is putting those words into action with a project that's changing the lives of at-risk teens.

A room at Ozanam -- a nonprofit helping youth -- is now filled with about 150 boxes filled with 3,000 pounds of clothes, all thanks to the hard work of a local 14-year-old.

"It makes me feel like a better person that I know I can do things to help other people," said 14-year-old Luke Philgreen, who spent the better half of Wednesday morning unloading a U-Haul filled with boxes of clothes, along with family, friends, and his Boy Scout Group -- Troop 10.

"I decided, hey, I can just get clothing done for them because they already have shelter and food covered," said Philgreen.

Every Scout was asked to come up with a project benefiting the community. He chose to build a supply of much needed items for Ozanam -- a non-profit organization dedicated to helping at risk youth.

"Many of them come to us with very few belongings," said Laurie Minx, the Ozanam Director of Communications.

She says their need for donations is very high this time of year.

"Especially around the holidays, because we have a lot of new admissions, a lot more kids to serve," said Minx.

Philgreen handed out flyers, went door-to-door, and called more than 150 people asking for help.

"I need clothes, all ages, mens, womens, and at my troop meeting, clothes just started piling in, everyone just started bringing clothes," Philgreen added.

"He has probably been able to obtain one of the largest donations we've seen in a long time," Minx said.

Minx says he's also one of their youngest donors.

"What's really neat is to see him be a similar age range of the kids we serve, and it's neat for our kids to see what young people are able to do," said Minx.

Philgreen says everyone deserves to feel wanted, cared for, and to have their basic needs met daily, but especially on Thanksgiving.

"That type of support inspires hope for our youth, and that is a big difference in what turns their lives around," added Minx.

"It's hard to do that, and to focus on that, when you're so busy focusing on other needs... like food, clothing, and shelter," Philgreen said.

These donations will help roughly 200 children who might not otherwise have what they need.

Ozanam relies on community donations and support in order to help more than 600 youth annually. Philgreen says the donations have not stopped coming in.

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