11-year-old creates Operation Teddy Bear ministry for young tornado survivorscomment (1)
April 5, 2012
William Eide may be only 11, but already he’s learned the power of using available resources.
After the tornadoes hit Alabama on April 27, 2011, he tried to help with what he had — teddy bears.
“I was just sitting at home after we had driven through the devastation of all the tornadoes trying to think of a way to help all the kids,” said William, a member of Calvary Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, in Tuscaloosa Baptist Association. “I saw my stuffed animals, and I thought that’s what we should give out to the kids.”
He quickly found 46 at his house and went out with his mom and grandparents distributing them.
“Everyone was very thankful,” he said.
But that wasn’t a good stopping place for William.
Alabama had a lot more than 46 hurting children, so he started enlisting his friends, his neighbors, his state and even the nation.
To date, Operation Teddy Bear has collected and distributed 12,089 stuffed animals.
William’s effort also has collected and distributed canned goods, gas cards and other needed items, such as vouchers for storm shelters.
“We had originally planned to stop a couple of months after the [tornadoes], but we were at a block party in June and talked with folks who encouraged us to continue on,” said Lara Eide, William’s mother.
She is now in the process of making Operation Teddy Bear a nonprofit charity organization.
“When asked why he does this, William always says, ‘Because it’s the right thing to do,’” Lara Eide said. “He always reminds me to love God more than anything else and he lives by that.”
Jon Hathcock, minister to children at Calvary Baptist, said William’s heart is full of desire to give to others.
“William was quick to think about the boys and girls during the storm,” Hathcock said. “It has now been many months after the storm, but William still chooses to think of others and live out his story to be like Jesus. I am proud to see this boy’s faith in Jesus put into action. God receives another victory in spite of this storm.”
For more information, visit http://operationteddybear.weebly.com.