UNIONTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) – A Fayette County fourth grader who lost her mother to an accidental heroin overdose used her birthday as a chance to give back to the community and raise awareness about addiction.
In a press release, Fayette County says 34-year-old Angela Phillips lost her battle with addiction when she died of an accidental heroin overdose in December of 2016.
She left behind two daughters: Mia and Anna, a fourth and second grader both at Connellsville Area Catholic School.
Phillips’ sister Mary Sampey said she was surprised when Mia asked not for presents or gifts for her birthday, but food donations for families in need.
Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln learned about Mia’s goal and the news release says it turned into a “widespread success.” Sampey said the community rallied around Mia, supporting the birthday food drive by donating hundreds of pounds of food.
The collected food then went to the Connellsville Area Community Ministries to help families just in time for the holiday season.
The Angela Phillips Memorial Fund also raised $19,000, which was donated to the Connellsville Area Community Ministries’ Porter Theater.
“Mia’s acts of service amaze me because when she first came to us, she had lost the only home she’d ever known; lost most of her possessions; had to change schools; and her grandparents became her parents,” Sampey said in a press release.
“She should be selfish and hard because of what has happened to her, but because of her loss, she sees how much she has now and that there are many people who go without.”