The toothless smile of a seven-year-old boy reveals the generous heart of an old soul. When Gavon lost his front middle tooth a few months ago, the tooth fairy left behind quarters and dollar bills, in all $11. Gavon stored the money in a glass jelly jar for safekeeping. When he saw a homeless man outside the grocery store one day, he wanted to use his tooth fairy money to make sure the man and others didn’t go hungry.
“It’s pretty darn sweet; it melts this grandma’s heart,” said Linda Hildebrand.
Gavon’s grandma, Linda, who is raising him, called on friend, Larry Barringer, a long-time volunteer at Feed Thy Neighbor, a non-profit dedicated to feeding homeless men and women. The non-profit also partners with Meals on Wheels.
“I told Gavon, ‘Helping one person is good, but when you add up your money with another person’s little bit and it grows into a big miracle,” said Linda.
Gavon donated his jelly jar of coins and bills to Feed Thy Neighbor, and grandma was right.
“With Gavon’s $11, I matched another $11 and bought ham to make sandwiches to feed the homeless. Then, as I’m making lunches with another friend, he gives me $11 and says I’m going to match him,” said Larry Barringer.
Gavon’s generosity inspired Larry to start a GoFundMe account, called Gavon’s Challenge, to raise money to make 650 Thanksgiving meals for seniors at Meals on Wheels and homeless men, women, and children.
Gavon and his grandma donated again, this time in honor of his papa, Lou, who died a few months ago. Helping others heals the heart.
“They were two peas in a pod,” said Linda.
In all, Gavon and Feed Thy Neighbor raised just over $2,300. Enough to make Gavon break out into a happy dance.
“It’s just all in the heart. It feels like good to give away my money,” said Gavon.
“I get choked up thinking about it. We need more Gavon’s in the world,” said Larry.
The day before Thanksgiving, Gavon and his grandma witnessed how his donation turned into dinner for hundreds of people. The pair volunteered at Feed They Neighbor, preparing turkey, stuffing, and pies for delivery.
“He’s a pretty special guy,” said Linda.
“I hope this shows how easy it is to give back. There are so many things a kid can do with $11. But he would rather feed the homeless and elderly,” said Larry.