What started as a once a year Veterans Day tradition of helping out homeless veterans became a daily mission for eight-year-old Tyler Stallings. And so far, the boy has raised over $50,000 for this great cause.
When he was just four-years-old, Tyler became aware of the unfortunate fact that many veterans in the country are homeless. It all began when his mother, Andrea Blackstone, began teaching him about the importance of veterans, especially because they had several in their family. So, she made Tyler watch YouTube videos featuring them and the things they have done for the country.
As they were watching these informative videos, they stumbled upon one tackling homeless veterans.
“He saw videos of veterans holding signs to no one responding to their cry for help and he thought this isn’t right. He didn’t like it,” Andrea recalled. “He asked me, ‘If they’re heroes why should they be on the street?'”
Young as he was, four-year-old Tyler insisted that his mom take him to Home Depot so they can buy wood and nails that will be used to build houses for the veterans. Andrea explained that they couldn’t afford to do so, and thought about how her son – who genuinely desired to help homeless veterans – can ease the difficulties faced by these heroes.
Andrea reached out to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who gave Tyler a kid’s grant of $100. Together with this grant and a GoFundMe link that Andrea shared on Facebook, Tyler was able to start his Veteran’s Day tradition of gathering necessities such as clothes and hygiene products to give as care packages to homeless veterans.
It became so successful that the mother and son thought that doing it just on Veterans Day wouldn’t be enough.
“It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but it turned into an all the time event,” Andrea said.
Tyler got involved with the Maryland Center for Veteran Education and Training (MCVET) as the “superhero” of their shelter. His responsibility was to raise awareness about the veteran’s sacrifices and all the hardships they have gone through.
Tyler also brings them “hero bags” which contain clothes, hygiene products, and bedding. Recently, the boy was able to team up with a mattress company that donated 250 beds to MCVET and a backpack company that gave Tyler backpacks that would hold all the items in his “hero bags”.
During the past four years, Tyler raised over $50,000 for homeless veterans.
Andrea says that this experience is helpful for both Tyler and the veterans.
“[The veterans] appreciated it so much. There are a lot of smiles and thank yous involved,” she said. “Tyler learns a lot about humanity and how to bond with people and be kind. I’m so proud of him being vocal and standing up for what he believes in.”
Tyler’s reason for helping the veterans was plain and simple.
“They should have the things they need because of all the good thing they’ve done for our country,” Tyler said. “It makes me feel very happy and very good when they have a happy reaction.”
With all that he has done, Tyler hopes that he can do more over the coming years. His next goal is to raise funds for a truck so that he and his mom can use it to deliver more items to MCVET that would help the homeless veterans.
With sheer will and support from the people around him, Tyler was able to achieve his goal of helping homeless veterans.
Every chance that we get, we should support causes that promote the betterment of people who are going through a difficult time in their lives.
Watch our young hero below and spread his story to your friends and family!