Meet Tyler Stallings, an 8-year-old Maryland boy who is trying to make a difference by helping homeless veterans in his neighborhood.
Tyler lives with his mom, Andrea Blackstone, and is homeschooled. During their homeschool lessons, Blackstone decided to begin teaching her son about American military veterans.
While Tyler learned about the heroic actions and sacrifices that veterans make, he also learned about the plight of many veterans who become homeless.
In a HeartThreads video, young Tyler explained that he felt angry and sad after learning about homeless veterans. In his childlike innocence, Tyler wanted to race to the nearest home improvement store to buy construction materials to build houses himself.
Tyler’s mother was proud of her son’s desire to ease the burdens that so many veterans are facing. She helped her son brainstorm ideas that were a bit more realistic than a child building homes, and they came up with what Tyler calls Hero Bags.
The bags and backpack are filled with hygiene and grooming kits, warm gloves, hats and blankets, and whatever else Tyler and his mother feel the veterans could use in the current weather season.
Tyler’s giving back to our veterans, one ‘hero bag’ at a time. https://t.co/wHNd1nDbaN
— GoFundMe (@gofundme) November 19, 2019
“My dad, uncle, grandfather and lots of people I know are veterans,” Tyler wrote on his GoFundMe campaign page, which has remained active since 2016. “I wanted to do something nice for as many veterans in need as I could because they deserve it!”
Over the past four years, Tyler has passed out roughly 3,000 Hero Bags and raised over $50,000 to help veterans in need, CNN reported.
Blackstone, a single mother, told HeartThreads that watching her son use his creativity to help people has benefited her as well. She realized that a person does not need a lot of money to make a difference, but rather just the heart and tenacity to do hard things.
She and her son have plans to continue helping veterans and making as many hero bags as they can, using donations from people across the country who have latched on to Tyler’s cause.
“Anything people can do to help them with items on their wish lists, that’s where people like Tyler come in,” Blackstone told CNN. “For Tyler, being a part of that community as a superhero has been about raising awareness.”
Tyler’s philanthropic endeavors can be followed on his Facebook page, Kidtimeenterprises.
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