Brinkley Minter, 6, sat at her family’s dining room table as the Jaguars game played in the background on Sunday. Friends and family watched TV in their Springfield home, but Brinkley never looked up.
She was very focused while working on an acrylic painting – one of dozens she produced in a matter of days.
Brinkley raises funds by selling his artwork to provide children at Jacksonville’s Sulzbacher Homeless Shelter with Halloween costumes. It’s her favorite holiday – one she loves and looks forward to every year and, after a discussion with her parents about homelessness, wants to make sure other kids with fewer resources can do the same.
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“Brinkley asked us if homeless children could still make candy or spell,” said his mother, Gwynne Mims Minter. “We explained that many families may not be able to afford costumes and there are also children without families to help with this sort of thing.”
This year, the Florida Department of Education reported that 78,949 students in the state were homeless during the 2019-20 school year. The Florida Council on Homelessness said more than 1,600 families with children in Florida were homeless in 2021.
In public schools in Duval County, about 1,000 students are homeless this school year, according to a spokeswoman for the district.
Brinkley’s parents are used to big questions from their daughter. She is a sweet and sassy freshman with a lot on her mind.
Her father, JR Minter, is a social worker and her mother a well-known local hairdresser.
But what was new this time was their daughter’s actions. In one day, she asked if she could organize an “art stand” – like a lemonade stand but with paintings – to raise funds to buy costumes for children in need.
Her goal was to raise enough to buy 16 costumes – she surpassed that goal in two days.
At their Hubbard Street home, a hand-painted sign with brushed lettering sat in a flowerpot – “The Art Sale” – greeted supporters.
Brinkley got to work. She had painted dozens of works: some acrylics on canvas, others watercolors on paper, mostly Halloween themed with pumpkins, black cats, witches and a few butterflies mixed together. On Saturday alone, she spent about 12 hours producing parts. It marks the pieces sold with a label.
“It’s special because all kids love Halloween,” Brinkley told The Times-Union.
To date, she has raised over $ 2,900 and the family plans to keep the momentum going until the end of the month.
“Not only will she be able to provide costumes for a very special event in Sulzbacher, but [she] is on track to make a significant contribution to the organization, ”said her mother.
Each year Sulzbacher hosts a Halloween celebration that includes elaborate decorations and a trip for children around the first floor and offices of the main Sulzbacher Village campus in Norwood. This year, Brinkley has been invited to join us.
The organization’s President and CEO, Cindy Funkhouser, said she was impressed with Brinkley’s gesture.
“In these stressful times, it’s inspiring to see a young child focus their energy on making a difference,” said Funkhouser. “Such a plea from one of our young volunteers is wonderful and we are proud to benefit from his generous spirit.
Donations to Brinkley’s efforts can be made by visiting https://gofund.me/fc8ea459. Sulzbacher also collects treat bags for children who receive services from the group but live off campus (such as daycare students). For more information, visit sulzbacherjax.org.
Emily Bloch is an education reporter for the Florida Times-Union. Follow her on Twitter or send him an email.