Monday, December 20, 2010

11-year-old Helps Other Kids Get Toys For Christmas

He and his family were returning home from a shopping trip to the mall when they saw a homeless woman, her two children, a man and his dog under a bridge. Their clothes were tattered and torn, and they had all their belongings in a shopping cart.

"What will happen at Christmas?" Stephen asked his mother. "Will they get any toys?"

Probably not, his mom told him.

"I was sad about that," says Stephen, now 11 and a sixth-grader. So he went home and searched the house for spare change.

He collected $35, divided the money into four plastic baggies, and then his family drove him back to the bridge, where he gave one bag of money to each of the four people.

"They were so thankful," he recalls. "They said, 'God bless you.' The woman cried."

For the past seven years, the family has hosted an annual Christmas party with guests bringing new toys, which the family then gives to the Salvation Army to distribute.

The guest list at the parties includes their friends, all the students in Stephen's grade, as well as the classmates of his siblings.

Last year, they collected 300 to 350 toys and $3,500. This year, they want to break their own record and collect 500 toys.