By: Megan Roche
Mount Olive is getting a little kinder these days, thanks to the help of ten year olds, Madison Shaffer and Sofia Huff.
Shaffer and Huff, both in the fifth grade at Mountain View Elementary School, hosted a food and animal item drive the Sunday after Thanksgiving. In total, the girls collected between 50 to 60 pounds of food. They even got special donations from some of their teachers and their guidance counselor.
“Their spirit to spread kindness is contagious to people of all ages! I believe that Madison and Sofia will touch many lives and do incredible things in their future. I read that there is a correlation between kindness and happiness- Sofia and Madison prove that everyday. I’m thankful I know them and they make me smile everyday,” Margaret Maute, the girls fifth grade teacher, shared.
Inspired by the Kindness Club at their school, Shaffer and Huff both felt the need to give back. However, the girls have not just aimed their focus on the holiday season. The two have big plans to continue their efforts well into 2022 and beyond.
“We want to make others feel good. We want to share things with people, help people, and just overall make them feel good,” Huff shared.
Shaffer feels the same way.
“I just like to see people smile and when I see them smile, it just makes me really happy. That smile lets me know that I’ve been kind and they are happy about what I did.” Shaffer says.
According to the girls guidance counselor, Kathryn Devins, Shaffer and Huff work hard each day to spread kindness to all who cross their paths. In addition to being Kindness Ambassadors, the girls also serve on the Safety Patrol.
“Madison and Sofia not only help our students stay safe during arrival and dismissal working their assigned duties, but they also spread positivity in their roles as Kindness Ambassadors. I am blown away by their efforts to host a food and pet drive on their own time, and spearhead writing and delivering holiday cards to one of our local senior living communities, Paragon Village. I’m super excited to see what we can accomplish together to continue spreading kindness and giving back to Mount Olive. Having the opportunity to work with kids like Sofia and Maddie makes my role as their counselor so very rewarding,” Devins said.
During their drive over Thanksgiving weekend, the girls set up a table and donation location at one of their homes. They braved the cold weather and stood outside all day and patiently waited for donations to come in.
“We really wanted to help others. We wanted to give back to people and just be kind. Our Kindness Club really inspired us. It just makes us happy that we’re making a difference in our community,” Shaffer said.
The two are excited to continue their efforts beyond the holiday season, aiming their efforts toward Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“We want to continue helping nursing homes, but we also want to do a lemonade stand in the warmer weather for Saint Jude’s. It’s not just about giving back at the holidays; I want to do this with Madison all year round,” Huff said.
In addition to their fundraiser for Saint Jude’s, the girls would also like to host another food drive, as well as a baby needs drive. Both the girls mothers, Dee Shaffer and Kelly Huff, couldn’t be more proud to watch their girls give back.
“We’re proud to know that these girls can put others before themselves. Teaching empathy is a hard thing to do these days, where some kids have it naturally. We want them to know that you should put yourselves in other peoples shoes and appreciate what you have. Just watching them organize this and get inspired by the kindness club, I’m super proud of both of them,” Dee Shaffer said.
Being two ten year olds, Sofia and Madison are encouraging kids their own ages to get out into the community and help others.
“Always be kind and no matter if a person or animal looks different, you need to help them. We hope to inspire other kids to give back and do good things in their own communities. We want other kids to do it too because if we get more kids to do things like this, we can help more people all around the community.”
To keep up with upcoming drives, follow Madison and Sofia on Instagram at @give_back_girls.