CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A 10-year-old Cedar Rapids boy has learned a valuable lesson after kicking off a mission to help tornado victims.
"We're taking toys, we're taking gift cards, we're taking water, we're taking food, we're taking clothes, we're taking games," said Melissa Hunt
Just more than a week has passed since powerful tornadoes blew through the Midwest, killing eight people. One tornado destroyed much of the town of Washington, Illinois. People there need help as they work to piece their lives back together. A young boy is hoping to help in that process.
It was dark outside Tuesday evening, but a house on the northwest side of Cedar Rapids was buzzing with activity. A small group is working quickly to fill a big truck.
"I originally thought we were just going to pack my Kia Soul. I was wrong," said Melissa Hunt.
The idea to gather donations started about a week ago when Melissa and her son Kennith saw tragedy unfolding as tornados whirled across the Midwest.
"It was just sad. It just made me so down and made me feel bad. So I had to make a solution to help them," Kennith Hunt said.
"He just sat there and he goes we really should do something to help. I just looked at him and said we don't have anything to really help and he is very thoughtful and so he looked around and he was like well we have our home, and I was like we do," Melissa Hunt said.
So, the pair used their home to start collecting items for families. They started a Facebook page and items came in faster than they could have ever expected. Now, the 10-year-old in his torn jeans and camouflage coat has a big load of donation for people in Washington, IL.
"I thought sometimes people don't donate, but I was wrong. Lots of people do and they all do care about tornadoes," Kennith Hunt said.
Melissa said she's learned a big lesson from her son, one that reminds her to be compassionate.
"I don't know how many people it will touch, but the fact that I'm his mom, and I listened to him and helped him devise a plan, I'm the lucky one, I really am," Melissa Hunt said.
"You need to help strangers, friends, anybody who needs help," Kennith Hunt said.
Kennith and his mother will leave for Washington, Illinois Wednesday morning. They've been working with an organization there that's looking forward to receiving their donations and distributing them to families in need.
They plan to make even more trips to Washington in future months. People can call or text Melissa to find out how to help with her son's mission at 319-213-4653.