Ask any 10-year old girl what she wants for her birthday and you’re likely to receive a long wishlist of items ranging from Barbie dolls to Justin Bieber merchandise. Normal as this may be, some young people are thinking beyond their own litany of wants and are discovering ways of giving to others, instead. Such is the story of young Payton Babcock who decided to forego her own birthday gifts in favor of feeding hungry families.
Planning to Make a Difference
Having seen an announcement on the Disney Channel about children in the United States who did not have enough nutritious food to eat, Payton sprang into action. First, she approached her parents with the idea of feeding the hungry in lieu of receiving birthday gifts. Initially, Payton wanted to collect food to give to needy families, but quickly discovered that collecting and storing perishables was too lofty of a goal even for an optimistic 10-year old philanthropist like herself. Instead, Payton’s parents told her that if she raised $400 to pay for a mobile food pantry, they’d donate the additional $400 needed to make it all happen.
That very same day, Payton busied herself with writing letters and soliciting door-to-door donations. She also utilized Facebook to spread the word about her charitable goals and offered people the opportunity to help her reach them on behalf of those in need. Ultimately, though she’d only targeted the original $400 for her share of the mobile pantry investment, Payton managed to raise more than $600, and also collected personal care items to give away on the day of her special birthday giving event.
In the parking lot of a local church, this 10-year old dynamo arranged for Feeding America West Michigan to giveaway multiple pounds of meat and fresh produce to local families in need. According to the Huffington Post, which featured a story about Payton’s birthday gift to her community, more than one in six people are classified as food insecure in Muskegon County where Payton lives. Relying upon the help of friends and family members who assisted in distributing food on a cold day in September, many who lined up to gratefully partake of Payton’s birthday gift were among the working poor which included families struggling to make ends meet, as well as war veterans and local elderly citizens.
Through her efforts to help her community during a time in which many are in need, Payton also managed to help the environment, as well. Feeding America West’s website advertises that much of the food that it receives and distributes is actually food that would otherwise end up in landfills. Though perfectly edible, distributors are often faced with having to get rid of food that they are unable to deliver due to transportation mishaps or incorrect dates being printed on packaging. Food donated to the organization also comes from restaurants that have over-ordered.
We Salute Payton Babcock
Civic Duty salutes young Payton Babcock as she is a prime example of how even the youngest among us can affect their communities in positive ways. By sacrificing her own birthday wants, the crucial food needs of others were met. Through her determination to make a difference, Payton Babcock has exhibited a maturity beyond her years.
Estelle, Kenneth. “10-Year-Old Michigan Girl Gives Up Birthday Presents to Feed Hungry Neighbors.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.