The Ashland Beacon
A few months ago, Avery Hall’s parents started talking to her about charity and the importance of helping others. Her father, Bryan Hall, explained that he wants his daughter to “understand how fortunate she is.”
The conversation started because Avery came home from school upset because another student in her class did not have a toothbrush to use. Bryan said that she was in the bathroom crying and trying to put an extra toothbrush in her backpack for a fellow student.
At a former parent/teacher conference, Avery’s teacher had remarked on how kind she is to the other students, so he called the school to find out what was going on. In this particular instance, the student had just moved and the toothbrush had just been misplaced. Her actions made her parents think that maybe she was ready to do more to help others in her community. Avery had previously accompanied her grandfather to deliver Meals on Wheels, but Bryan wanted to make a full day of it.
Bryan said that he decided to surprise his daughter with a trip around town to visit some of the local nonprofit organizations. He picked her up from school just before her 8th birthday with his truck loaded down with supplies and a “plan to show her the other side of things.” He documented their journey on Facebook.
After picking Avery up from school, they first stopped at Dollar General to let her pick out some stuff to give away, using some of the money that would normally have gone toward her own birthday gifts. Their second stop was at AARF, where she was able to donate several bags of dog food and look around the facility. Bryan said that he wanted to show his daughter all the animals that are lost or in need of homes.
Their next stop was the Neighborhood. They visited the agencies located there and let the organizations take their pick of what supplies they wanted from the truck. Avery was credited with donating more than 200 pounds of food and water to River Cities Harvest. The Dressing Room was happy to receive a great deal of hygiene items. Both agencies recognized Avery publicly on their social media pages thanking for her birthday donations.
While at the Neighborhood, Avery got to see some of the people that were waiting to eat at the Community Kitchen. She also got to talk to the ladies who were working in the Dressing Room. They showed her where all the stuff that she had donated would go and told her about the people who would use it.
Avery also visited the Paramount Arts Center. Avery loves to attend shows there but did not realize that it was also a nonprofit organization or that people supply things for the Paramount. He said that it was a good way for her “to learn that the shows she loves don’t just happen.”
Next, they visited the new food pantry at ACTC with donations of simple items like ramen noodles and canned soup. Bryan shared that, oftentimes, college children are forgotten and he wanted her to realize that the need does not stop when students get out of high school. He said that Avery asked a lot of questions there. She was particularly interested in knowing why the pantry stocked baby food, and was really shocked to find out that there are people who need items for their babies.
Hall said that he did not get to take her to all of the places that he wanted to take her, so he hopes to continue their journey another day. Hall still has a lot of things like toothpaste and deodorant in his truck, even though every organization that they visited took as many items as they possibly could. He said that Avery had talked about making this trip for a while and was happy that she was finally able to go out and help people. Hall said that Avery is starting to realize that “not every puppy has a home and not every child has an iPad.” He emphasized that she is also beginning to realize that “stuff doesn’t just appear for you.”
Hall refers to his daughter as a bubbly, dramatic, eight-year-old who “wears her heart on her sleeve. If someone else is crying, she’s going to cry. If someone else is laughing, she’s going to laugh with them.” He concluded, “I am very proud of the fact that she wants to help out and be involved and that she wants to see people succeed.”