Birthday boys choose food bank over presents

When do you start teaching children to give back? An El Dorado Hills mom decided it's never too early for her sons, who would be 8 and 5 years old in August, to learn a sharing attitude.

The boys, firstborn Tyler and younger Bailey, have enough toys. Mom Stacey Price took them to the Sacramento Food Bank so they could see for themselves that some people don't have much, even food, to their names.

"When we did our tour of the food bank, [Tyler] saw how little some people have and all the things that are offered there," Price explained. "And he didn't even realize there were kids that even didn't have clothes for school or that kind of stuff. I think it really opened his eyes and made him less of a kid. He's not as needy."

"The other people that don't have food, well, they need to have food to live," Tyler observed.

Tyler set a goal of collecting 100 pounds of food, and he would do it at his combined birthday party with Bailey.

Two dozen children showed up at the Star Wars-themed party. With Nerf shooters and light sabers, they attacked Star Wars characters set a top cans and boxes of food. The food was donated by the party guests in lieu of birthday presents.

"[We] shot each other and played elimination and we win," Tyler said about his party. "We put characters on them (stacks of donated food) and then we shot them."

"Tyler's been great about it," Price said. "He understands there are kids who don't have anything. And he has no right to complain. And he's handled it better than I ever thought possible. He hasn't asked once about changing the plan. He's happy with it."

Price said Bailey went along with the idea mainly because big brother did, but she's still noticed a change.

"He's stopped asking for a toy every time we go to Target. He's really become a lot more aware of what he needs and what he doesn't need and just wants."

Tyler agreed he has lots of toys and was OK with his friends not bringing gifts, but food for the needy.

"It just feels good for some reason," he said.

When the food was weighed at the food bank, it totaled 169 pounds. Tyler was pretty proud of that too, his mom said.


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