Young girl’s drawing nets $300 for Stepping Stone

One day, seven-year-old Lilian Newton of Coon Rapids came home from school and told her mother that she wanted to sell a picture of a gingerbread house that she drew.

Left to right: Stepping Stone Emergency Housing Executive Director Heather Ries, Lilian Newton and Phyllis Boyle. Newton’s gingerbread house drawing raised $300 for Stepping Stone through a raffle drawing. The winner of the drawing was Newton’s grandmother Boyle. Submitted photo

Left to right: Stepping Stone Emergency Housing Executive Director Heather Ries, Lilian Newton and Phyllis Boyle. Newton’s gingerbread house drawing raised $300 for Stepping Stone through a raffle drawing. The winner of the drawing was Newton’s grandmother Boyle. Submitted photo

Jennifer Newton asked her daughter why she wanted to sell her picture.

“Because I want to help people,” Lilian said.

“We’ve always told her that she should be grateful for what she has,” Jennifer said. “I guess she was listening.”

They talked about the different charitable organizations in Anoka County before deciding to help Stepping Stone, which is an Anoka-based shelter for homeless single adults.

They sold raffle tickets for $1 each for a chance to win the drawing. They ended up raising $328.

Heather Ries, executive director of Stepping Stone, thinks it is phenomenal that this young girl wanted to help someone else.

“It shows that anybody can do something to solve a problem, particularly homelessness,” Ries said.

The name drawn on the raffle ticket March 8 belonged to Jennifer’s mother Phyllis Boyle of Princeton.

Jennifer’s father-in-law Daniel Imhoff is on the Stepping Stone’s board of directors.

Stepping Stone helped 190 people in 2011, according to Ries.

There were 107 people in the 90-day program, which has 16 beds dedicated for homeless adults, Reis said.

There were 83 people who used one of four emergency beds set aside for homeless people that law enforcement find sleeping outside or in their vehicles, she said.

Stepping Stone is looking to move to the Cronin Building on the old state hospital campus site in Anoka.

Anoka County is taking over ownership of this building from the state and plans to rent out the first floor to Stepping Stone, County Administrator Jerry Soma previously told ABC Newspapers.

Lonni McCauley, chief operating officer of Stepping Stone, said this space could hold 60 beds.

The 20 beds available at the current Stepping Stone facility in Anoka are filled every night and there is a waiting list of 90, she said.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

up arrow