Maxine and Talia Harvey spent their childhoods giving away toys and gifts to children in need, forming the charity Debbie’s Treasure Chest before they were even teenagers nearly a decade ago and working in the years since to expand their efforts.
Now the girls are getting a financial boost to help bolster their organization’s work with a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation, a Woburn-based organization founded in 1986 by Bill and Joyce Cummings.
Harvey Girls, Inc., which runs Debbie’s Treasure Chest, is one of several local organizations that will receive grants this year through the Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 grant program, which supports nonprofits primarily in Middlesex, southern Essex and Suffolk counties.
Linda Harvey, the girls’ mother, said they received word about being selected for the grant through a letter in May and that they were considering several options for how to use the funds.
“We are, to be quite honest, still in shock,” Harvey said recently. “We were so excited when we sent in our letter of inquiry (to the Cummings Foundation) and that they invited us to apply. We couldn’t even believe that we got this.”
Julie DeSilva, communications specialist with the Cummings Foundation, said the Harvey girls and Debbie’s Treasure Chest presented “a very compelling story.”
“We’re just really thrilled to support two young girls who have just done so much good, those are the kinds of stories we love to hear,” DeSilva said. “That’s a very unique story and one we’re really proud to be a part of.”
Maxine and Talia Harvey were just 11 and 7 years old respectively when they began Debbie’s Treasure Chest. The girls, who were adopted, had been giving away toys to donate through the Department of Children and Families (DCF). When their contact at DCF, Debbie D’Lorio, died in 2006, the girls named their charity after her.