FULFILLS KIDS' WISHES
By: Lee Ann Swarztentruber
Children give their parents a wish list for birthdays and holidays, but last Christmas local seven year old, Grace Hood decided to fulfill the wishes of kids at Anchorage Children’s Home instead of her own.
The Hood family donates monthly to area organizations. Grace’s mother, Norma Hood said, “In December I asked Grace who we should donate to that month.” She said that Grace put her hand on her hip and replied, “I have $80.00 in my bank account, go get it and we will get some stuff for the boys and girls that don’t have a mom and a dad.” That was the birth of the non-profit organization – The Friends of Grace.
She used her money to buy gifts and filled stockings with them. “She had so much fun putting them together for the kids,” said Norma. In January the young philanthropist created her own facebook page, but it didn’t stop there.
In May she decided to have a yard sale to raise more money for children in need. Clear Channel Radio produced a commercial for the event prompting many in the community to donate items for the sale.
The homeschooled second grader raised over $600. Grace is using the funds to buy birthday presents for children at Anchorage.
“Each month Grace contacts us and asks who is having a birthday that month and what their gender is. She’s even started asking for wish lists from the kids. She, in turn shops for each child, wraps the gifts and includes a handwritten birthday card and delivers them to our agency prior to their special day,” said Brooke Bullard, Development Director at Anchorage Children’s Home.
“She has been so loyal and determined to make sure the kids we serve have the same exciting memories that she gets to experience. She is an unselfish little girl and knows the importance of giving back to her community and is setting a positive example by demonstrating that you’re never too young to make a difference in someone’s life.”
When Grace was asked why she enjoys giving to others, she replied, “Because they need it and it’s letting them have things like I have."
Grace also recycles cans and sells Sonic cards for funds. She recently gave $55 to the family of Justin Ayers, the victim of a tragic shooting in June.
Grace’s grandmother, Mary Ann Adamcryk and her mother Norma operate We=Balance bookkeeping on Minnesota Avenue in Lynn Haven. Grace’s office is also there and the fundraising dynamo has her own desk and computer where she plans future projects, including the design of a Friends of Grace t-shirt.
The Hood family lives in Bayou George where Grace enjoys doing things like other children her age such as playing and watching television, but her grandmother believes she’s no ordinary little girl. She adds, “Grace has accomplished all this at age seven. Who knows what she will have done by the time she’s 21.”
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their facebook page at Friends of Grace.