By MARY RAINWATER
The Christmas season for many is a time for charity — of giving of oneself to help others in need. And in the case of three local youngsters, the holiday spirit certainly knows no age.
These three children — a 4-year-old boy from Palestine and two 11-year-old girls from Palestine and Elkhart — each seem to have a gift of charity and are sharing that gift with others this year.
Just as many other children her age, Elkhart fifth grader Hope Benton has been earning some funds by doing chores around the house. But for the last four months she has been putting that hard-earned money to something beside herself.
Instead of buying things for herself, she purchased over 75 toys to donate to local children this Christmas.
Hope took those toys to the Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living this week for donation to the Anderson County Rainbow Room, an emergency resource center available to CPS caseworkers to help them meet the needs of abused and neglected children.
“I wanted to make the kids happy that don’t have a lot and don’t get a lot of stuff,” Hope said. “It feels good. I feel happy.”
Hope’s parents, James Benton and Brian and Misty Bell, all reported being very proud of Hope, stating that this kind of action was not unusual for the young lady.
“She has a wonderful heart, has always been giving little gifts to people,” mom Misty said. “It is a true calling in her life.”
“We are very proud of her.”
Joe Coleman of the Anderson County Child Welfare Board, was on hand Tuesday to accept Hope’s donation to the Rainbow Room. Her donation will be distributed to 76 local children.
“I am so overwhelmed, in awe, just humbled,” Coleman said. “It is amazing to me — and that she has always done it, that is so amazing.”
In September, the day before Landon Reed’s fourth birthday party, mom Stephanie Reed watched her son make a pile of toys outside his bedroom.
“He had pulled a bunch of his toys — good ones, his favorite Lightning McQueen and some others,” Reed said. “I asked him what he was doing, and he told me, ‘Momma, I’m giving all these toys to little kids who don’t have presents.’”
The two gathered up Landon’s toys and took them to the Palestine Resource Center, where, according to his mother, the people were “extremely excited about his donation and doted on him.”
On the way home that day, Landon told his mom, “Now that all the little kids have toys, I want to make sure they all have umbrellas.”
“He had earned some money, about $20 or $30 and told me he was going to take the money and buy umbrellas for the kids,” Stephanie said. “I was so impressed, I put something about it on Facebook.”
Seeing the proud mother’s post, members of Long Lake Baptist Church wanted to help, and collected several umbrellas for the effort.
“We took them to the Rainbow Room last week,” mom said. “They took him and let him help sort the umbrellas and the toys he had donated too.”
Stephanie and Andy Reed are both proud of their young son’s actions.
“It is just really special and we are so proud of him,” Stephanie said. “He has always been very giving.”
A Special Christmas Wish
Born premature, Westwood Elementary School student Kylie Webb faces her own set of challenges every day. But the shy, young blonde’s Christmas wish list is one that may seem beyond her years.
Beside the requests of a pair of brown boots, a portable gaming system and items for her favorite doll, two items stand out above the rest — teddy bears and toys to give to children and, emphatically underlined, the words “Jesus Christ.”
“I want everyone to know about Jesus,” Webb said. “Christmas is his birthday, and it is a time to give to those things they don’t have. He forgives us and helps us.”
This year, Webb has collected 4-5 huge bags of items for homeless boxes and recently helped fill a truck with items for the Toys for Tots program.
“Giving is a family tradition for us,” mom Kathy Webb said. “We pick ‘angels’ off the tree and visit nursing homes. We do things all through the year.”
When she grows up, Kylie wants to be a missionary, traveling all over the world helping others just as she does already here at home.
“She is always helping the new kids at school and befriends those students that tend to get picked on, mom said. “She is always coloring pictures and sending out notes with Bible verses on them.
“She is extremely giving and has a servant’s heart,” she added. “She is always helping others.”
Through her involvement at Palestine Church, Kylie was named Missionette of the Year. She has been named a Student of the Month every year at school (except kindergarten).
“She also has been put through the ringer with medical stuff, receiving many injections,” Kathy said, “and even her doctors praise her for being a very cooperative patient.”
“He heart is for little ones and the elderly,” she added. “That is where she likes helping the most.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org