Little girl with a big heart, 9-year-old volunteers for fun

First Posted: 3/3/2009

In an age of advance technology, where i-Pods, video games and other computer contraptions can easily gain the attention of fourth graders for fun Paige Simpson is an exception.
In search of fun last summer, the 9-year-old Franklin Elementary School student decided to spend her free time volunteering at the Foothills Food Pantry in Dobson helping those in need.
I get up the groceries, calculate how many pounds and give (people) the groceries, Paige said.
She added that her favorite part is weighing the food, but particularly seeing the reaction of those shes helping when she gives them several pounds worth of meals.
Its really fun help people out, and (its also) really fun to see them when I bring them their stuff, she said. Ive made a lot of friends.
Beverly Jones, the coordinator for the food pantry, said she is really impressed with Paiges volunteerism especially because shes a young child.
Most 9-year-olds are concerned with what they can get out of it, (but) she genuinely enjoys helping others, Jones said. Its rare to find that joy in children or adults.
The Foothills Food Pantry is set up to temporarily help families who have fallen on hard times, who may have to choose between groceries and keeping the utilities on.
The non-profit organization relies heavily on donations and volunteers to sustain its efforts to feed families and individuals in need.
Paige started working at the pantry in early July with her great-aunt, Earline Smith, who kept Paige as a baby.
Last summer, they were bored and decided they wanted to volunteer, said Kathy Simpson, Paiges mother. They enjoyed getting out doing a little something that they thought would help someone.
But to Jones, there is nothing little about what Paige does when she volunteers every Monday from 6 to 7 p.m., distributing food to people.
Jones said shes a little girl with a big heart.
Shes compassionate and multitalented, she said.
Simpsons mother echoed Jones sentiment.
Its good for her to get out there and see there are people who have needs, Simpson said. Its good for her to see there is something like this that allows people to help, and (to) see there is a way to help.
She has a big heart for doing this, she added.
Paige, who is also involved with cheerleading and softball, has had to sacrifice some nights volunteering for practice, but insists she plans to continue helping people through her adult years.
I think its pretty good, she said, adding that shes learned a good lesson about helping others. Not all people are rich, and you should treat them (right).
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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