‘Put people’s needs ahead of your own’

Child donates to HoC instead of receiving birthday gifts

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ Blake Russell, 9, of Marshalltown, asked guests to his recent birthday party to bring food and supplies in place of gifts. On Wednesday morning, he and his mom Shelly donated the goods to the House of Compassion.

While most kids look forward to receiving toys and games for their birthdays, Blake Russell, 9, the son of Shelly and Andy Russell of Marshalltown, had only one thing on his mind — giving back to the community.

As he was helping plan his June 24 birthday party at the YMCA-YMCA pool, he got an idea. He decided to write on his party invitations that instead of guests bringing him gifts, he’d like them to bring donations for use at the House of Compassion.

“People there are in need of food and it’s nice to donate because you want to put people’s needs ahead of your own,” Blake said.

This is the second time the youngster has made this gesture. For his fifth birthday, he also asked for donations to the HoC in place of presents.

“He’d see on T. about families not having food to eat, so he brought the idea up again this year,” said his mom Shelly.

At his birthday party, his 15 guests (and their parents) brought in sacks, bags and boxes full of food and supplies. Wednesday morning, Blake and his mom delivered the goods to the House of Compassion.

“We brought chips, cereal, canned food, noodles and Pop-Tarts,” the child said.

Paper towels and toothpaste were also donated.

“His dad and I are very proud. Most kids his age don’t think of things like that. We couldn’t be more proud of him for helping out his community,” Shelly said.