KALISPELL — Two Glacier High School students are fundraising to bring a hot chicken dinner and warm mittens to those who are homeless in the Flathead Valley.
Following a school assembly encouraging students to make a positive change, freshmen Lane McKoy and Jillian Kinniburgh decided to give back to the community.
Their Chicken and Mittens fundraiser brings a warm Chick-Fil-A dinner and mittens to those who are homeless at the Samaritan House in Kalispell.
"We just want to make them feel really loved and let them know that they are important. And the reason we chose Chick-Fil-A partially is because it's just comfort food," McKoy explained. "It's something you'd get if you're having a bad day."
McKoy and Kinniburgh hit their $1,000 fundraising goal within a month and the money will go toward buying 50 pairs of mittens and purchasing the meals.
Samaritan House Executive Director Chris Krager notes that as the weather gets colder the shelter reaches up to 100 people each night. He also pointed out that the cold can be fatal for those without a home.
"The nature of homeless in Montana is that certain parts of the area gets real serious. It gets kinda cold out. So, our cold weather plan is in place and we've got over flow beds," Krager said.
McKoy explained why they chose mittens and not something bigger -- like coats -- to help keep people warm in this cold weather.
"Your body starts drawing all your heat to your vital organs, so your fingers of course get cold first. And you get frost bite and you could lose a finger or even a couple of fingers," McKoy said "It's [also] harder to get employed which is what keeps some of these people in the vicious cycle of homelessness."
Kinniburgh said it's a good feeling to be able to give back to the community.
"It feels really good and I think it's really cool that it's around Christmas. I don't think we were expecting it to be a Christmas type thing, but it turned out to be like that," she said. "And it's really cool that we could give back to them for Christmas."
Both McKoy and Kinniburgh -- who want to continue the project next year -- will serve the meal and drop off the mittens on Dec. 21 to those in need at the Samaritan House.
If you would like to donate to Chicken and Mittens please visit their GoFundMe page. Any left over donations will go towards the low barrier warming shelter in Kalispell.