The holidays are an excellent time to share the wealth!
As a Boy Scout, Jonathan Werner of Minnesota was hoping to do some philanthropy work, so he brainstormed ideas with his parents to come up with ways to help their community. His father, Steven Kolk, told Jonathan about growing up in the foster care system until being adopted at age 12, and how sad it had been not to receive gifts at Christmastime.
“I was in foster care from the time that I was five to [when] I got adopted at about 12, so like seven years of my childhood and I don’t remember my Christmases ever really being very special until after I was adopted,” Steven told GMA. “So having him do a project like this and knowing that where I was those years, I could have had somebody like [Jonathan], it would have been really special.”
Jonathan decided to raise money through the Boy Scout’s annual popcorn fundraiser, then use his portion of the reward money to buy gifts for children living in foster care and shelters.
The 12-year-old got right to work crafting the perfect speech about his goal for the funds. He must be a natural salesman, because he sold $56,000 worth of popcorn for his troop! This year, just as the prior year, he used his share of the reward money to buy gifts for kids who might not otherwise get anything for the holidays.
This year, Jonathan spent about $11,300 buying 600 presents for about 138 kids in four Minnesota counties. He worked with social workers to fulfill kids’ wishlists, along with making sure they have all the personal care necessities they need.
Jonathan says he’s happy to be able to help other children have a nice Christmas, and he has learned a lot from the process.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot throughout this,” he said. “I’ve learned money management. I’ve learned other things of that nature as well. It also makes me really happy to know that kids that wouldn’t really get a Christmas are getting a Christmas because of my project.”
Naturally, his parents couldn’t be prouder of their son’s huge heart and great work ethic.
We love how Jonathan used an already-existing fundraising event to further benefit his community! His selfless gifts make him a real-life Santa Claus in our books!
Share this story to thank this young man for helping others.
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