A fourth grader at Cedar Lane Elementary School is asking for donations instead of birthday presents in the hope of helping four local families in need.
Kellan Spencer says he already has everything he could ever want.
So instead of asking his parents to buy him the latest toy or newest game system for his 10th birthday, the fourth grader at Cedar Lane Elementary School is asking the entire Middletown-Odessa-Townsend community to help him collect donations for families in need.
“I don’t need any more presents,” the 9-year-old explained last week. “But some people don’t ever get presents or have a lot of things, so I just want to help get them everything they need instead.”
Kellan’s birthday is April 17, but the real celebration won’t be held until May 10 when his family will host a party at their Commodore Estates home so community members can drop by and donate items to a handful of local families who are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross and Neighborhood House in Middletown.
“We’ve invited the entire fourth-grade class at his school and Cedar Lane has agreed to put out a flyer asking for other families to donate, as well,” explained Kellen’s mom, Megan. “Anyone who is interested is also welcome to drop off donations during the party.”
Megan said they are hoping to collect household items, like sheets and towels, as well as children’s toys and games for at least four families, including several single-parent households with multiple children whose ages range from infant to late teens.
A full listing of suggested donations eventually will be posted to a Facebook page she’s created called, “Kellan’s 10th Birthday – Helping Families In Need.”
“I think what he’s doing is just unbelievable and I commend him for his desire to reach out and help others at such a young age,” said Marilyn Hendershot, the family services coordinator at Neighborhood House, a 20-year-old nonprofit on Green Street that helps provide families in crisis with everything from food to utility assistance to school supplies. “His parents definitely did something right with that one.”
Megan, a stay-at-home mother of three, said neither she nor her husband Shaun, a 1998 Middletown High graduate who works for Horizon Services, can take full credit for their oldest son’s goodwill.
“We try to tell our boys about the importance of volunteering and how fortunate they are to live in a nice house with nice cars and go on vacations, but Kellan has always put others first, ever since he was little,” she said. “He’s just an old soul, like a 90 year old in a 9 year old’s body.”
While Kellan said the idea of helping families in need just sort of popped in his head, Megan said he’s actually been talking about it since December.
“He was in Spanish class and his teacher told him that kids in Mexico only get one or two things for Christmas,” she said. “I think he realized then that he gets so many more gifts, because that’s when started talking about giving presents away for his birthday. It was a nice idea, but he’s 9 so I thought he would forget about it, but he talked about it for four months.”
Andrea Lopez, Kellan’s teacher at Cedar Lane, said she’s not at all surprised by her student’s birthday wish.
“Of all the kids in my class, Kellan is always the one thinking outside of the box and putting others first,” she said. “I know this started as a little idea, but it keeps growing and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.”
Kellan, meanwhile, seemed a little perplexed over what all the fuss is about.
“I got a trampoline for my birthday last year and I got a Nintendo 2DS and an iPad last Christmas,” he said, explaining how his birthday wish came about. “I just think it’s a good decision to help others get what they want this year.”
For additional information about Kellan’s donation drive, visit facebook.com/kelsbdaywish or RSVP for Kellen’s birthday party by visiting http://ow.ly/vwuGD.