“I didn’t want to receive, I wanted to give,” Sophie said, for her birthday.
She said she was inspired to give after seeing a homeless man on the side of the road, “with a hurt foot, all black and blue, near the airport in Atlanta.”
She’s also helped a local homeless man, making and giving out sandwiches, Sophie’s mother Missy Long said.
She took her birthday money and donations collected from family and friends as well as by her grandmother’s church to provide some 40 bags of personal care items. The bags included toiletries, socks, hats and mittens, and for the children some small toys and coloring books.
She handed the bags out and served food Monday night at the Calvary Refuge Center in Forest Park. “She shared her birthday cake with them and they all sang happy birthday to her,” Missy Long said.
“It was neat to see the reaction,” she said of the children who received the bags. “It was like we’d given them a million dollars.”
A boy came up with a toy he’d just received in one of the bags and asked if he could give it to her, Long said.
The shelter provides transitional housing for people who are homeless or coming off assistance, Missy Long explained. “Her grandmother’s church in Ellenwood helps out at the shelter.”
Long said the church, Tanner’s Baptist Church, even took up the an offering in Sophie’s name for the shelter. “They called it Sophie’s offering,” her father Chad Long said.
The Longs will be going back Saturday to help with a fall festival at Calvary Refuge Center. The festival is for the families and children that live there.
Sophie received donations from the Chick-fil-A locations including the Dwarf House and Town Center locations, as well as the Truett’s Grill, all in Fayetteville and paper bags from the Publix in Locust Grove.
Sophie did not want to get thanks for what she did, her mother said, and had to be talked into doing this story.
“She’s the kind of kid who would give the shirt off her back.” her mother explained.
When she saw the shelter had collected clothes to give out Monday, Long said, “Sophie went to the car to get the bag of clothes we had there. I told her you can’t give away dirty clothes, so he pulled out a couple of her own clean items and brought them in to give away.”