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Region girl sells handmade crafts to help those in need

January 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 43.4%. 2 min read.

HOBART — Gabriela Mazzulla was 8 when she came up with the idea for a charity she calls Gabby's Gifts.

Assorted spools of ribbon wait to be used to make holiday-themed wreaths, all handmade by 10-year-old Joan Martin Elementary student, Gabriella Mazzulla.

The material will be used by Spryzinski's 10-year-old granddaughter, Gabriella Mazzulla, for an assortment of handmade holiday-themed wreaths.

HOBART — Gabriela Mazzulla was 8 when she came up with the idea for a charity she calls Gabby's Gifts. Gabriela drew on her love of craft making to raise money to help the less fortunate, said her mom, Jennifer Kljajich. "She is an amazing little girl with such a giant heart," Kljajich said. Last year, Gabriela raised well over $3,000, money she used to buy necessities and toys gifted to individuals at St. Jude House in Crown Point, the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago and Brother's Keeper in Gary. Gabriela, a 10-year-old fifth grader at Joan Martin Elementary, said she knew two years ago she wanted to do something to reach out to others less fortunate. "I would go with my dad into Chicago and when I saw homeless people on the street I wanted to do something," Gabriela said. Gabriela said she decided, because most people will not give monetary donations, she would make crafts and sell them to raise money to buy essential for the homeless. Initially, in the fall of 2019, Gabriela made rice sock snowmen and gnomes that she sold at a school craft fair. "We attended a craft fair that year and it was a huge hit.

She had a very large support group online and she raised well over $3,000. " The materials for the crafts were donated by her mom and grandmother, Juanita Spryzinski, of Crown Point, so all proceeds went to the cause, Kljajich said. "We delivered not only care packages of essentials to a homeless shelter — Brother's Keepers in Gary — but countless toys and supplies as well to the St. Jude House and the Ronald McDonald House," Kljajich said. COVID-19 has made it difficult at times to find needed supplies for craft projects. "Sometimes we wouldn't get what we wanted," Gabriela said. The support from the community has been amazing, Kljajich said. Area stores, including Menards and Old Time Pottery in Merrillville, have offered generous discounts on purchases. "And Menards on Black Friday donated knit hats and discounts on blankets," Kljajich said. A total of 38 backpacks filled with deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, blankets, hats, gloves and other items were delivered last month by Gabriela, her mom and grandmother to Brother's Keeper in Gary. In addition, 10 backpacks filled with essentials were delivered to St. Jude House in Crown Point.

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