Volunteer Spirit: 9 year old gives rather than receive for birthday

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Katie Jenkins just turned nine. Her birthday party consisted of the usual. You know: friends, family, cake, even a sleep over.

But there weren't any toys, clothes or money wrapped up for her. Instead, guests brought first aid items, new socks and underwear, vitamins, chapstick and other medicine.

And even though these items were on Katie's birthday wish list, they are not for her.

Katie says, "They'll go to homeless people in the Village of Hope in Ukraine. My mother went there and she told me all about it. I want to help."

This isn't the first time Katie collected items during her birthday for charity. It actually started at age six, after the flooding in Nashville.

Katie's mother Kim Jenkins says, "I teach high school and thought when it flooded in Nashville schools might need school supplies. So I convinced her that I would take her to the concert in Nashville if she would instead of getting presents, she would get supplies to donate to charity."

That benefit concert, Nashville Rising did the trick.

The following year Katie helped send dresses to Africa.

Now it's a tradition.

"I like it (my birthday) better this way, because I get to help kids in need," smiles Katie.

Kim says, "I'm really proud. It's important to give back to the community and as a parent you like to see your kids do that as well.

Even better, her compassion is contagious.

"My friend Lilly when she had her birthday she collected canned food for her church food pantry," according to Katie.

And, her younger brother Hunter has a plan.
Hunter says, "Collect presents for my birthday that are really cool presents and give them to the homeless people."

He's only five right now but like his sister, full of volunteer spirit.

Kim says missionaries with their church will deliver the items to the village in Ukraine at the end of the month.


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