While some nine-year-old girls may have a wish list of toys and other gifts that they want for their birthday, Katy Watowich turned her day of celebration into an opportunity to help those in need.
Instead of bringing presents for the birthday girl, Katy requested that those that attended her party bring a pair of brand new shoes to be donated to Crossroads Mission.
A third-grade student at Southwestern Christian School, she shared that she initially got the idea from a commercial that she saw on TV. After seeing the commercial a few times while watching the Disney Channel, she decided that she wanted to give back to those in her community, too.
“I don’t need toys,” she said, recalling one doll she received for her birthday last year that’s still sitting in her closet unopened. “God has already blessed me with family and friends.”
After making a trip to the homeless shelter and dropping off the 23 pairs of shoes she received, she said that the donation made her feel “happy,” like she hoped it would also make the recipients of her donation feel when they received the shoes.
Katy said she wanted to show people God’s love and, “send out all the shoes to the children who need them.”
Her mother Chardee explained that because Katy came to her with the donation idea about six months ago, she thought that she might forget about it by the time her actual birthday came around.
“I was proud of her for even wanting to do it,” she said. “But that far out… I just thought, ‘Don’t be surprised if she doesn’t bring it up again.’”
Katy added, “But I didn’t forget!”
She said that she hoped her donation would spur other children to give to those in need as well.
Chardee said that her daughter has, “always been a giver.”
Katy also spent time manning a lemonade stand one summer with her friends as a way to help raise funds for AIDS orphans through Tumaini International Ministries. She said that her school actively sponsors children in Africa through the organization.
In the future, Katy said that she has more plans for running a snow cone stand in the summer or a s'mores and hot chocolate stand during the winter for other fundraisers.
“She has more ideas piling up,” Chardee said.