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Local children give and receive
Stuff 4 Love program provides Easter baskets
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First Presbyterian Christian Academy sophomore Kelsey Higgason speaks with teacher Maria Reed on Wednesday about a student-led drive to make Easter baskets for area foster children. - photo by Danielle Hipps

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When First Presbyterian Christian Academy sophomore Kelsey Higgason was younger, she awoke once a year to find a colorful, treat-filled basket waiting outside her door to mark Easter Sunday.

The teen now is spearheading Stuff 4 Love, an effort to ensure that area foster children will have similar memories. The group is collecting items to give 45 area foster children Easter baskets of their own this year.

“I feel so grateful that I had that, and I just wondered if maybe other people in the world could get that,” Kelsey said. “And I said, ‘Maybe there’s other people here in Hinesville that don’t get that, and I just want to spread it with them … I want to give them some love; they deserve it, too.’”

Inspired by the Max Lucado film “Made to Make a Difference,” Kelsey shared the idea with friends last week and contacted the Department of Family and Children Services to find out how she could give to children in need.

“It was so inspiring. There were all of these kids who were my age and even younger, and they have been doing all of these things for the community, and I was like, ‘I want to do something right now,’” she said.

The group has raised $500 and enough gifts, candy, baskets and gift cards to provide baskets for all but seven of the 45 children.

Kelsey said one of the great things about the project is that people can give according to their level of comfort; some have donated filled baskets, while others have made smaller contributions.

About seven FPCA students and a couple of friends in public schools have joined in on the initiative, Kelsey said.

Freshmen Michelle Roberts and Abigail Jones also are involved in the cause.

“I think it’s great not only to have adults start something, but to have students start something … because it’s a big world, and we’re just trying to make a tiny difference,” Michelle said.

While the details need to be ironed out, the girls say they are planning an Easter egg hunt for March 31 and would use that opportunity to give away the baskets.

“I want to give it to them personally, because I want to see the look on their face when they get it …,” Kelsey said. “I want to show them that we’re there for them.”

They also see potential to continue helping foster families in other ways, such as babysitting and doing future drives for school supplies.

FPCA teacher Maria Reed said her classroom has been transformed into a craft room while the girls make posters, websites and social-networking profiles to spread the cause.

“They did it all by themselves …,” Reed said. “What got me was their passion. Sometimes people say, ‘Yeah, I want to help, sure,’ but they don’t really do anything … But to see such fire and passion in them, it motivates me.”

Reed attributed the community’s support for the program to the fact that the effort is local and its results are tangible.

“People see that end result, and it’s helping kids here, and it’s local. … The fact that it’s right here in our town, it seems to make a huge impact, not only with them, but with those that are donating as well,” she said.

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