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Cherokee student collecting Santa letters to boost donation to Make-A-Wish

By Cindy Simpson

Christmas is about giving, and one Cherokee Middle School student who embodies that spirit is collecting Santa letters to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Madeline Moore decided she wanted to collect the letters after seeing Macy’s commercials that promise the retail powerhouse will donate up to $1 million — $1 per letter — to the charitable organization which grants dreams to terminally ill youngsters.
“I just love helping people that need the help and deserve the help,” said Madeline.
Her parents, Jeana and Chuck Moore couldn’t be more proud.
“It makes me feel good that people are pulling together to help Make-A-Wish Foundation. We’re very proud of her,” Jeana Moore said.
Chuck Moore said Madeline finds the returns from giving much more rewarding than any gift.
“The feeling was better than anything we could ever give her,” he said.
Madeline said there are no big gift items she wants for herself.
“I have everything I could wish for with a family that takes care of me and loves me no matter what,” she said, “and I like giving back to people who deserve it.”
In addition to students at Cherokee, where Madeline is in seventh grade, other schools are participating.
Among them are Harriman’s Bowers Elementary, where Jeana Moore teaches. Other area participants include Harriman Middle School, Harriman High School, Kiddie Korner Daycare and Tam’s Tots.
On Tuesday, Madeline had collected about 400 cards, but the family expects to be taking many  more.
“We think it is going to be in-between 1,500 and 2,000 letters she’ll end up collecting,” Jeana Moore said.
This isn’t the first time that Madeline has shown how generous she can be.
At many of her past birthdays she’s asked for charitable donations instead of gifts.
“For her 10th birthday she didn’t want any presents,” Jeana Moore said. “She asked people to bring money. She ended up taking $500 to Ronald McDonald House.”
Even though her 11th birthday was rained out, people met the family to give them donations.
Last year she collected canned and nonperishable foods for a church’s food pantry.
The family had collected so much food that it completely filled the pantry shelves and was stacked on the floor.