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WATCH NOW: Local kids fix up warm drinks to benefit underserved children
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Operation Christmas Child
Warming Hearts

WATCH NOW: Local kids fix up warm drinks to benefit underserved children


During these uncertain times, people look to others’ acts of charity for inspiration.

On Saturday morning in downtown Morganton, three young children embodied the principles of serving their community, fixing up drinks to benefit a local outreach organization.

Tucker Cato, 3, Sawyer Cato, 7, and Keraghen Welty, 5, served hot cocoa and apple cider outside of Benjamin’s and Libba’s, at South Sterling and West Union streets. The proceeds from their sales will go to Operation Christmas Child to fill Christmas boxes for underserved children.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization that's mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities, according to its website. Samaritan’s Purse also operates locations in Boone and Charlotte.

According to Tucker and Sawyer’s mother, Brittney, the idea originated from Keraghen’s mother, Meghanshe . She said had the chance to travel to Mexico to deliver boxes while she was in high school.

Brittney said she was “superexcited” to see her two boys serving their community.

“It makes us feel really blessed for this opportunity to serve our community,” Brittney said. “The funds are going to Operation Christmas Child to fill the shoeboxes for all the children, so that way they have something to open at Christmas.”

“Normally, what we all do as a family is take the kids to go shop and then fill the shoe boxes,” Brittney said. “But this year, Megan had the idea that it would be a fun project for the kids, that way they can earn the money and then take that money and get the shoeboxes. This way, they could see the whole process of giving.”

Meghan said the children were very receptive to the idea of giving back to their peers.

“Once we said we were going to do this, (the kids) said, 'Oh, we’re going to make money,'” Meghan said. “We told them, 'But we’re going to take the money, and we’re going to buy gifts for kids that don’t have gifts.' They didn’t complain, and they were like, 'Yeah let’s do it.' Both of them were up at 6 a.m. this morning ready to go, asking if it was time to go sell.

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“They’ve been excited. They’ve already asked when the shopping day is — when they can go and buy the gifts.”

Day's proceeds

According to Meghan, the group made $645 on the day. She estimates that will amount to roughly 25 to 30 boxes, with shipping costs set at $7 per box.

The kids far outperformed their expectations, and those of their parents, Meghan said.

“Sawyer said, 'I want to make $100,'” Megan said. “We said, 'We think we’ll do good to make $60; that’ll make a good number of boxes, and that’s awesome.' So, $635 is way more than we could ever imagine.”

As far as the products, the apple cider and the hot cocoa — timeless fall classics — were popular draws Saturday.

“They think it’s a superneat idea,” Brittney said. “We’ve actually had people coming back for seconds. They said it was super nice to have something like this downtown as you’re walking in the morning.”

Sawyer and Keraghen are students at W.A. Young Elementary, while Tucker is in day care at Creative Beginnings.

According to Megan, Sawyer’s former kindergarten teacher assistant and Keraghen’s kindergarten teacher assistant stopped by Saturday morning, along with a W.A. Young Elementary substitute teacher.

“(Keraghen’s) teacher has been out due to COVID-19,” Meghan said. “Her substitute teacher came by this morning and bought some apple cider. So that was very cool.”

Keraghen and her father, Troy, even assembled the children’s booth, which Troy said the pair were able to build in a couple hours.

The kids’ dedication to their charitable endeavor was obvious. Still, they managed to make the process enjoyable, too.

“Not bad for a few hours work,” Meghan said. “And they had fun.”

Johnny Casey is a staff writer and can be reached at or 828-432-8907. 

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Johnny Casey has been covering education and writing feature stories for The News Herald since Aug. 2019

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