Sometimes we just don’t give kids enough credit for setting amazing examples for the rest of us. While many of us are already overwhelmed with everything we have to get done in a single day, kids take their time exploring and learning about the world around them. While we may encounter certain things so often that we don’t fully process them anymore, kids notice problems and set out to fix them.
Since he was old enough to lift a helping hand, 12-year-old Ethan Reynolds from Columbus, Indiana has gone out of his way to do so. He volunteers at nursing homes, animal shelters, and makes it a priority to give to those in need. In fact, last Christmas, Ethan forewent a typical kid’s wish list. While his friends were asking for toys and video games, Ethan asked for something that ultimately wasn’t even for him. Ethan asked for a lawnmower, hoping to use it to help neighbors in need.
When this big-hearted 12-year-old noticed members of his community asking for money and food on the street when COVID began impacting jobs, he set out to help. Starting with whatever money he had available, Ethan bought non-perishable food and personal hygiene products that his community desperately needed. He set out a table on his front lawn, wrote “Free Food” on a sign out front, and Ethan’s Table was born.
Ethan’s compassion awakened something in his community, and before he knew it, neighbors began adding their own donations to his table. Being 12 doesn’t pay all that well, so Ethan began doing lawn work for his neighbors to raise money. With the money he made, he bought more food to keep Ethan’s Table stocked.
Unfortunately, the lawnmower this determined 12-year-old had been using was every dad’s worst nightmare. It was old, rusty, and would frequently break down mid-job. Ethan had unshakable determination, but he was held back by his less-than-ideal equipment.
Filled with gratitude for Ethan’s constant support, his community stepped up, thrilled to give something back to the little boy who constantly gives so much himself. Ethan’s community got together and bought the most important item on his Christmas list – a new lawnmower.
Ethan was overwhelmed when he realized the brand new lawnmower sitting in front of his house actually belonged to him – Ethan fell to the ground, bubbling over with excitement about all the people this lawnmower would allow him to help.
“We try to have $75-$100 worth of food on the table every day,” Ethan’s website explains.
Though he frequently receives donations, Ethan puts in the work to make sure that nobody in his community goes hungry. Every community needs an Ethan, and every Ethan needs a lawnmower. Fortunately for everyone, this generous boy’s Christmas wish came true.