GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Cooper Schwartz is a 14-year-old who likes to play hockey and guitar. But, he also loves helping people, one warm hat at a time.
“This one has a sherpa fleece lining. We do a lot of different ones; we have a cashmere beanie, some wool,” he said, showing off the different styles. “I started a beanie business, winter hats, and for every one I sell, I donate one to a homeless person in New England.”
His idea has yielded significant results.
“So far we’ve been able to donate over 1,000 beanies to every state in New England. Along with that, lots of hats and gloves.”
For years, the Guilford High School freshman volunteered at soup kitchens and was inspired to give back in a bigger way.
Then the pandemic struck and his mission became even more important as people struggle.
“They’re really not getting that many donations especially during COVID and now, more than ever, it’s really important to help them,” said Cooper.
He got a loan from his dad and saved money after refereeing hockey games to start his business called Hedgehog Beanies.
“We got a custom patch. Day-to-day I do the ironing then I pack the orders and send them out,” he explains.
Community support has been huge as folks post cozy pictures and even hedgehogs on social media.
What is the significance of a hedgehog?
Just a cute, recognizable animal, said Cooper, who plans to stick with this endeavor and even hopes to add all-season products to his inventory so he can help people year-round.
“You can buy a beanie or honesty just donate to any shelter, they really need our help in these times,” said Schwartz.
So, remember, you buy a beanie and one is donated to a neighbor in need.