A Sioux Falls middle schooler is receiving national recognition for his volunteering efforts in the community.

Donnie Stoltz, 13, is a seventh-grader at Patrick Henry Middle School. We first spoke with him about his volunteerism in December.

Donnie began volunteering in 2011 at just eight years old, after seeing a news story about a man helping people in his own community. Donnie was so inspired that he started an organization named ‘Project Donnie.’

He began working with local business owners to raise money for people in our area who were struggling to find food, clothing and other basic needs that many of us take for granted.

After finding he loved helping others in need, he developed a new project entitled Donnie’s Closet, which helps gather sporting equipment for kids in the area who may not be able to afford it on their own.

Over the past year, Donnie has collected new or lightly-used equipment and donated it to over 100 children in the Sioux Falls area.

His mother, Amy, has supported Donnie along the way:

“Donnie recognized at a young age that he had opportunities that other kids didn't.  I'm so proud of his dedication to helping his community and I'm really excited that others have recognized his service.”

Donnie's compassion is now being recognized nationally, as he was named one of South Dakota's top two youth volunteers of 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Now in its 22nd year, the national program recognizes and honors two kids from each state for their outstanding acts of volunteerism in their communities.

In May, Donnie, along with the other SD honoree, Anneliese Taggart of Vermillion, will head to Washington, D.C. for an all-expense-paid four day trip. Here they will be recognized for their work and receive an award of $1,000 along with an engraved silver medallion. Amy adds:

“The trip to Washington DC will be an amazing experience for him.  He will get to see all the history the town has to offer as well as participate in a community service project with the other winners from across the nation.  I'm guessing that after talking to the other winners, he will come home with other ideas on ways to help in Sioux Falls." 

Donnie plans to donate part of his winnings to Simon Says Give in Sioux Falls and to South Dakota Heartstrings, which are both charities run by kids. He’s also going to get a head start on his college fund and treat himself to something nice.

If you would like to get involved and donate any equipment to ‘Donnie’s Closet,’ you can contact him by joining the Donnie’s Closet page on Facebook. He actively posts requests from families for specific items, or you can donate any new or used gear in general.

You can also email him at donniesclosetproject@gmail.com.

Congratulations, Donnie, from everyone at Results Radio, Townsquare Media. You’re an amazing kid and we are excited to see where your future takes you.

Donnie Stoltz visits Results Radio to discuss 'Donnie's Closet'

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