For this month’s newsletter I’d like to introduce you to one of Bethel’s Preschool students, Braxton Kerns. Braxton is five years old and he recently organized a food drive for Charlotte’s Food Pantry. I asked his mother, Heather Kerns, “Why would a five year old organize a food drive?” She said this journey began a couple of years ago at Christmas. Heather and her husband Tommy often share with their children the importance of helping others who are in need. Heather and Tommy not only shared with their children about people in need, they decided to do something to meet people’s needs.
For the previous two Christmases, the Kerns family put together care packages for homeless people and delivered them to people in downtown Richmond. Inside each package were all sorts of useful items like a toothbrush, socks, gloves, hand warmers and there were some treats as well, like cookies and crackers. This act of selfless giving made quite an impression on Braxton. Braxton decided to follow his parents lead and what he did next I find remarkable. Braxton had a birthday party and he asked his invited guests not to bring him any presents; he asked them to bring canned foods instead of gifts. He said, “It’s not fair for me to get presents when other people are hungry.” That statement brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it. How many four and five-year-olds do you know that would give up birthday presents to help feed a stranger? The first year Braxton did the food drive they donated the canned goods to the Virginia Food Bank. Braxton’s older brother Peyton noticed that Bethel had Charlotte’s Pantry so this year they decided to donate the canned goods to Charlotte’s pantry. Braxton plans on taking this a step further.
Heather says Braxton has plans to organize a lemonade stand during the summer to raise money for those in need. When I learned of Braxton’s remarkable story I thought of the scripture from Matthew 18:3-4 where Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
I believe Braxton’s act of humility and selfless giving is exactly what Jesus is referring to in this scripture. a world this would be if we each followed Braxton’s example of selfless giving to help meet the needs of others. As we journey together in faith perhaps we can take a page out of Braxton’s book. It’s easy, and often overwhelming, to look at the needs of the world and think what difference can I make? I’d like to affirm that one person can make a difference. Braxton is making a difference and so can we. The next time you see someone in need, let’s ask ourselves how we can help meet the need, then let’s do something to meet that need. Perhaps you’ll be an inspiration to someone else, just like Braxton Kerns. May God bless Braxton and his family. May God bless Bethel’s Preschool. May God bless Bethel and may God bless you. Amen.