Instead of buying toys or sweets, a 5-year-old Alabama girl spends her weekly allowance on “blessing bags” for the homeless in her town, and hand-distributes them on weekends.
Mom Haley Bennet said her daughter’s passion for helping the homeless in their town of Florence, Alabama, started one night when they saw a man sleeping on a thrown-out mattress near a dumpster where her fiance worked.
“We cooked dinner, and we brought him a plate,” Bennet said. “My daughter was like, ‘Where is his house? What does he do if it rains? What does he do if it gets cold?'”
Since witnessing the impacts of homelessness in her own community, Tynslee Blue, 5, has “just been determined” to help, her mom said.
“She has an allowance, she cleans her room and helps me with chores, but instead of buying toys … we will go to the Dollar Tree, we will buy ponchos, umbrellas,” Bennet said.
She added they looked up what homeless people often need most, and then fill up the so-called “blessing bags,” or gallon-sized ziplocs, with everything from personal hygiene products to food.
Bennet said she then goes to their local park in downtown Florence, where many homeless people congregate, and distribute them.
During their first drop approximately a year ago, they dropped off five bags, she said. “Then this last weekend we did 20, and this coming weekend we are aiming for 30.”
Bennet said she admires how her 5-year-old is able to be compassionate and see people in need of help, rather than looking the other way.
“She acts like these people are no different to her, she will be like, ‘Hey, how are you doing, and god bless you,'” she said. “A normal 5-year-old ain’t going to try to help people, or walk up to a stranger and try to help people, or give them their juice or their water.”
Bennet said that when they walk downtown as a family and see a homeless person, even if Tynslee just has juice boxes, “She will ask, ‘Mama, can I give them my juices?”
While the “blessing bags” drops started out as a family affair, Tynslee is “trying to get more people involved,” her mom said, and often invites her friends to come.
“She wants people to be aware that this is actually a problem in the city she lives,” Bennet added.
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