8 Year Old Raises Over $50K To Help Homeless Veterans
When he saw how people who fought for their country were struggling, he knew he had to help.
Even though Tyler Stallings is only 8 years old, he's already a hero.
Andrea Blackstone, Tyler's mother, taught him about veterans when he was 4 years old. He was already familiar with the term since several of his family members have served in the military, including his grandfather (pictured below with Tyler).
Blackstone showed her son a few videos on You Tube to demonstrate the types of things that service members do to protect and serve. After seeing a video about homeless vets and how poorly they've been treated over the years, Tyler was confused.
"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 told ABC News .
"He asked me, 'If they're heroes why should they be on the street?'" - Andrea Blackstone
After watching the video, Tyler was inspired to act. He wanted to go to Home Depot and buy a hammer and nails and start building houses. But when his mother told him that type of project was out of their reach, they decided to start smaller. Blackstone reached out to Maryland's Gov. Larry Hogan and he helped Tyler get a $100 grant through 'Start A Snowball,' a fundraiser that supports kids' charity efforts.
With the grant money and a GoFundMe page that the family shared on social media, Tyler was able to raise enough money to put together "hero bags" for struggling veterans. The bags included toiletries, warm clothing, toothbrushes, toothpaste and more. After the success of his first year of fundraising, Tyler decided to keep the project going. Over the past four years, he's raised over $50,000 for homeless veterans and has donated close to 3,000 hero bags.
Tyler visits local shelters to distribute the bags to veterans, and he also gives them to individuals he meets on the streets. Recently, he partnered with mattress and backpack companies that donated 250 mattresses and sturdy backpacks to his cause. He's hoping to raise enough money to buy a truck for him and his mother to use to shop for supplies and deliver the bags to shelters.
For Tyler, it's all about making sure his "heroes" are taken care of.
"Veterans were trying to protect their country," he said in a video for HeartThreads . "I felt that what they were doing is important, but they couldn't do it without sacrifice from us."
Check out a sweet video of Tyler passing out special bracelets to retired service members on Veteran's Day...
We think it's awesome that Tyler is working so hard to help others. It just goes to show that you're never too young to make a difference.
You can make a donation to Tyler's GoFundMe campaign by clicking here .
(Source: images & video Andrea Blackstone Facebook )