Bell County youth Bryan Ealy just turned 12 years old.
To celebrate, his parents planned to let him have a birthday party at Veterans Memorial Park in Pineville. Bryan invited his friends and told them not to buy him gifts. Instead, he requested they bring non-perishable food items to be donated to a homeless shelter.
“I was just trying to think of a way to give back to my community in a way that would inspire others to do the same,” said Ealy.
Friends that came to his party honored his request — contributing to his donation effort.
Guests brought beans, Ramen noodles, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, flour, can goods, napkins and other useful items.
After the party ended and he returned home, he was pleased to discover others had come by his house and left items on his porch.
“Some of my family members gave me money for my birthday,” said Ealy. “I used it to go buy more donations.”
Ealy’s mother, Julie Ealy, helped him find the right place for what he wanted to do. When they found out about Lighthouse Ministries Safe Haven Homeless Shelter in Pineville and all of the good the organization does, Julie called to ask what kind of donations would be most useful.
On Monday morning, Bryan showed up at Lighthouse Ministries to deliver his donations. The donations were taken out of grocery bags and stacked on a table.
“This is wonderful,” said Eulene Brock, director at Lighthouse. “For a child to give up birthday gifts is a special thing.”
Bryan said he hopes others will make donations or do some similar acts of charity within the community.
This kind of donation can make a world of difference because the Ealys called ahead and asked what items were needed.
Most people donate to Lighthouse through food drives and the majority of that is can items. Flour, coffee, cooking oil and beans are all items people don’t usually think to give, said Brock.
Lighthouse will host up to 20 people at any given time. They are non-discriminatory and welcoming to anyone, excluding those with violent felonies or sex offender charges. Currently, they house people in a females area, males area and families area.
They hope to soon open another area for those suffering from domestic violence.
If you would like to donate to Lighthouse, you can call (606) 337-9736. Lighthouse isn’t receiving any funding from federal or state government. Donations are vitally important, said Brock.
Contact Shane Pippin at (606) 248-1010 ext. 204, email@example.com