8-year-old “superhero” with a heart of gold raises over $50k to help homeless veterans in need
We know that not all heroes wear capes, but a little 8-year-old boy who has a passion for helping homeless veterans should, and does!
8-year-old “Superhero”, Tyler Stallings, has been on a compassionate mission to help homeless veterans since he was 4 years old, and get this, so far the little stud has raised over $50k for these veterans.
Tyler’s mother, Andrea Blackstone, said when Tyler was 4 she wanted to teach him about the importance of veterans because there are several in their family.
So where do you take a child to learn about Veterans? Well, where does anyone go to learn anything in this digital age? YouTube to the rescue!
As Blackstone was showing Tyler all the great things veterans have done for our country, they stumbled upon a video about homeless veterans.
“He saw videos of veterans holding signs to no one responding to their cry for help and he thought this isn’t right. He didn’t like it,” Blackstone said.
“He asked me, ‘If they’re heroes why should they be on the street?'”
Being the empathetic child he is, Tyler started begging his mom to take him to Home Depot so they could buy wood and nails to build houses – touching right?
She then explained to him how large scale the problem was and that they couldn’t afford to build houses for all the veterans.
Blackstone then wondered, what could Tyler do to help homeless veterans?
Then an idea hit – She got Tyler in touch with Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan, and Tyler was given a kid’s grant of $100 from a nonprofit organization called Start A Snowball.
With some confidence of the grant and a GoFundMe page that Blackstone shared on Facebook, Tyler decided that once a year on Veteran’s Day, he would gather items like clothes, and hygiene products to give homeless veterans care packages.
It was received so well with such an overwhelmingly positive response that Blackstone quickly realized that they would need to do this more than just Veterans Day. It rapidly transformed into an “all the time event”.
“It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but it turned into an all the time event,” Backstone said.
Tyler began to work with the Maryland Center for Veteran Education and Training (MCVET) as the designated “superhero” of their shelter – so cute!
As their official “superhero” Tyler’s goal is to raise awareness of the veteran’s sacrifices to others and brings “hero bags” for veterans who are homeless or are in need of basic supplies.
Tyler’s “hero bags” for veterans include things such as clothes, toothpaste, deodorant, lots of other hygiene products, and bedding.
The little one was even able to partner with mattress company, Leesa, that donated 250 mattresses to MCVET and a backpack company, Backpacks For Life, that gifted Tyler 300 backpacks to hold his “hero bag” products.
And just like that, the snowball phenomenon happened – and over the past four years, Tyler has raised over $50,000 for homeless veterans.
Blackstone says that Tyler isn’t only helping the veterans, but the veterans are helping him too – apparently they teach him about humanity, which is an important life lesson at any age.
“The veterans appreciated it so much. There are a lot of smiles and thank yous involved,” Blackstone said.
“Tyler learns a lot about humanity and how to bond with people and be kind. I’m so proud of him being vocal and standing up for what he believes in,” she added.
For Tyler, his work helping homeless veterans is both important and rewarding.
“They should have the things they need because of all the good thing they’ve done for our country,” Tyler said. “It makes me feel very happy and very good when they have a happy reaction.”
Tyler hopes to raise enough funds for a truck soon, so that he and his mother can use it deliver even more items to the shelter in order to help more homeless veterans.
It doesn’t take much to make a big impact. With a little action and a heart of gold, anything is possible.
We salute you, Tyler. You and your mom are the real dynamic duo, and you are one superhero that we won’t soon forget. And always remember – you’re Majic!
Stay in touch with all the wonderful things Tyler and his mom do for homeless veterans by visiting Andrea’s Facebook page.