By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Plenty of kids set up lemonade stands and complete household chores to earn a few extra dollars, but Saltillo Primary School first-grader Keenon Quinn has done them one better.
Last week, Keenon held a bake sale at his school and has donated his $200 in earnings to Tupelo’s Salvation Army.
Salvation Army’s officersinvited Keenon to come donate his money in person on Friday so they could show their thanks.
“I want to help people who don’t have homes or food or toys,” said the 6-year-old.
Keenon chose the Salvation Army to receive his earnings himself, said his mother, Amanda Quinn. He knew he had an uncle who had been helped by the Army, and during the holiday season he’d see the bell-ringers and ask what they would do with the money they collected.
Keenon, who said he has been baking with his mother since he was 3 years old, made all the treats himself. Amanda Quinn said she did little more than supervise.
“He likes to bake and has always been very giving,” she said. “We didn’t expect this much response, but people have been so wonderful.”
Once the sweets were made, Keenon brought them to the first grade teachers’ lounge at his school. Saltillo Primary houses kindergarten through second grade, and within a few days, Keenon’s campaign had reached the other two grades. He even caught the eyes of the school’s administrative staff.
“Keenon is a very caring boy, very considerate,” said Assistant Principal Kay Davis. “We are trying to make arrangements to allow him to sell cookies and cupcakes once a month in the school.”
Now, Keenon is reaching out to the business community, hoping they agree to donate to his cause.
“I am challenging them to match what I did,” he said.
Senior officer of the Army in Northeast Mississippi Major Sue Dorman and the Army’s director of social services, Susan Gilbert, were thrilled to see a youngster show initiative toward their cause.
“We are so thankful he thought about us,” Dorman said. “It’s such an unselfish thing for anyone to do.”
Gilbert said it is common for children to participate in the Army’s programs, such as the Angel Tree and food pantry, but they are usually there at their parents’ behest.
“Seeing his accomplishment will make others want to help,” she said. “It’s expected for kids to look up to adults, but now adults can look up to him.”