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For 7th birthday, former foster child collects clothes, toys for other foster kids

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    BOSTON (WCVB) — An act of love comes full circle with a 7-year-old girl who could teach all of us a little something about giving back.

Laila is turning 7 years old next week. She decided that for her birthday, she would collect clothes for children in need.

“Laila is a very curious person. She’s a very old soul and she’s always known she’s been adopted. She’s always had curiosity about foster children,” Laila’s adoptive mother Coleen Burgess said.

Burgess adopted Laila out of foster care when she was 8 months old. Prior to that, Burgess took in 18 foster children for emergency placement.

Laila recently became intrigued by what life is like for these children.

“We talked about how those kids came, and when they came to the house, they had nothing. They just had the clothes on their back,” Burgess said.

That gave Laila an idea. She asked her mom if they could collect items to donate for children in need.

“Just basic needs — an outfit, pajamas, toothbrush and toothpaste, maybe a book or a stuffed animal,” Burgess said.

They put out the word on Facebook and within months collected close to 200 hundred bags worth of items. So far, they have dropped off about 40 bags at Catie’s Closet in Hyde Park on Tuesday and more than 100 at The Wonderfund on Boylston Street.

“It was really an unbelievable amount of support that we got, and we couldn’t have done it without all of those people,” Burgess said.

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