This Christmas Eve, while most of us are rushing around looking for last-minute gifts of questionable merit, young Luke Edenfield is seeking a few more gifts, too. Not for Christmas but for his 10th birthday on December 27. And not for himself, but for the children of Afghanistan.
It all started when a friend of Luke’s parents, whose son-in-law Jason is serving in Afghanistan, told Luke and his mom Kris that Jason had passed out Happy Meals toys still in plastic to the kids in the countryside, but weeks later when he went back, he saw the kids hadn’t even taken the plastic off. They were too afraid of getting their precious gifts dirty or ruined.
When Luke heard that, he decided that he would send toy cars – new, used, and unwrapped – to soldiers in Afghanistan to give to the children. He chose cars because they’re universally beloved by kids, virtually indestructible, easy to ship, and can be tucked into a soldier’s pocket to be given out randomly during the day. Luke had already sent one bin of his used cars earlier this year and gotten a great letter of thanks from Jason who wrote:
“I am excited to help hand these out…I have heard over here: win the children and you have won the women, win the women and you have won the men, win the men and you have won the war. Thanks again for all the support and for showing a caring heart.”
So for his big 10th birthday, Luke decided to shoot for the moon and try to get 1,000 cars to send to our soldiers to give the children. It’s not unusual for Luke to think about helping others. His mom and dad, a teacher, have always taken him along when they donate food to the food pantry, work with the homeless, and volunteer at the humane society. But Luke seems to have a special gift for giving. And since both his grandfathers and his great-grandfathers served in the armed services, he’s been sending care packages and letters to our troops for most of his life.
To date, friends and schoolmates in his hometown of Savannah, as well as others who’ve heard the story, have helped Luke amass about 820 cars – some of them really nice ones! His mom was a bit worried that Luke might not want to give the really special ones away (he is a 10-year old boy, after all) but she reports he just gets very excited and say, “Oh my gosh, this one is so cool! Some kid is really going to like getting this one!”
It seems when Luke looks at the cars, he can already see them in the hands of poor kids on the other side of the world. And he’s taking off the plastic covering before he sends them, so they can play with them for real – and know the cars are theirs to keep.
Happy Holidays to you all!! And let nothing you dismay.