For most elementary aged children, it is hard to match the excitement that comes with your birthday. The pleasure of turning a year older is only bested by the excitement of a huge party with all of your friends, tearing into present after present and eating enough sugar and cake to send a grownup into diabetic shock.
For soon-to-be eleven year old Hannah Lott, all she wants for her birthday on April 20th is to make a difference.
That idea blossomed in Hannah’s mind after watching a show on the Disney channel where she learned about a young girl who collected shoes to send to Africa. She brought that idea to her parents, Angie and Bill, but with an interesting twist, Hannah wanted to do it locally.
Earlier in the month Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network sent a young guest to cheerleading camp (We do everything to keep kids’ lives as normal as possible) at West Salem High School, where Hannah’s older sister cheers. Her family remembered our ministry and we are a few blocks from their home in West Salem. Hannah did more research, then came forward and said she wanted to dedicate her birthday to us. When she became aware of the financial burden homeless families encounter paying for diapers her eyes lit up and said, “That’s what I want to do!” Instead of presents; Hannah would ask help supporting her Diaper Drive for Salem IHN.
She went to her elementary school’s student council and asked for help spreading the word. She gathered a couple of friends and made homemade signs explaining Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network and The Diaper Drive. She posted them in her neighborhood, at her school and asked her parents to post them at their work.
Angie Lott, Hannah’s mom, shared the diaper drive with her colleagues at PH Tech. Shortly after, box after box of diapers came in. PH Tech caught wind of the mission and will now match each employee’s donation.
Hannah wanted to involve as many people as possible from her elementary school. Her family and I brainstormed ideas on how to share the Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network Message and get people involved! We came up with an idea for Salem IHN to sponosor her birthday party – at A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, which can hold 350 people. Hannah went on to invite the entire 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes at her school.
“As parents we can learn a lot from Hannah’s giving heart,” said Angie. “It’s a nice reminder we are here for another purpose – that when we’re faithful to God’s call we can make a difference”