“I live in the house on the corner where the crash happened. I was there when it happened,” said Willette.
VanBeek said she’s heard a lot about Caleb’s Closet and why it was started. “I think starting Caleb’s Closet has helped the family and they’re able to help other people. I just feel like it would be good to help them out,” she said. “They are definitely a strong family to be able to go through all that loss and still be able to help others. They took something so tragic and have turned it around to something so amazing for others.”
Both girls said they hope to collect lots of baby items for Caleb’s Closet, which provides free clothing items to anyone in need. Caleb’s Closet also provides free baby items including formula, diapers, wipes and blankets.
The family started the non-profit because their son was such a giving person, even at his young age.
“I’ve heard a lot about them. I just hope we can help in some little way. It will make us feel good to be able to help them,” said Willette.
The girls are asking for donations at the middle school through the end of May. They’ll accept diapers, wipes, baby clothing, blankets, bottles, formula, and other things babies might need.
“It does feel really good to help out,” said VanBeek. “It feels great. It feels like something I want to keep doing.”
The two girls started hanging out together when they were in sixth grade after they had been in dance together.
Willette loves playing volleyball, basketball, soccer and golf. She snowboards, dances, and enjoys camping.
VanBeek also plays volleyball and is active in dance. She snowboards and is active in the church choir.
Anyone can make a donation to the girls’ effort by dropping off baby items at the Thornapple Kellogg Middle School.
Caleb’s Closet is located in the basement of the Community Baptist Church, 502 East Grand St. in Hastings. It is open from 2 to 6 p.m. every Wednesday, from 1 to 4 p.m. the last Saturday of each month, and by appointment.