Gianna Smith is an 8-year-old girl from Utica. Each and every year she spends her time collecting bottles and cans and asking people for donations to make sure other children have a good Christmas. This is her third year raising money and former Marine Corps. Sergeant Mike Mills almost fell out of his chair when she handed him this year's donation.

Each year around this time Pin-O-Rama bowling alley holds a Toys for Tots youth bowling tournament in conjunction with the USBC Men and Women's Mail-O-Gram Tournament. Mills, actively involved in the annual local Toys for Tots drive, first met Gianna at the youth tournament in which they hand out pins and have a Marine in uniform there to meet the kids and take donations. It was Mike's sister-in-law, Linda Hunter, who first got them in touch. In Gianna's first year raising funds, she donated about $100. This year she shocked everyone when she handed Mills an envelope containing $300 cash. It was all in fives and ones, evidence that she was hard at work collecting and saving. It's young girls like Gianna who keep the Christmas spirit alive and strong. It's hard to get many kids nowadays just to do their homework, but for this young child to actively work hard, and in some cases embarrass her grandmother, to raise money for others is a true inspiration. What an amazing young lady.

This year our sister station WIBX has teamed up with many other organizations, including Toys for Tots and Operation Sunshine, to do the most good possible for those in our community this Holiday Season. Follow Gianna's lead and make a donation. You can stop by Pin-O-Rama on Genesee St. in Utica or make a donation to Operation Sunshine directly at

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