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In lieu of birthday gifts, Kendall Preston collects food for those in need

Kendall Preston collected all this food for Good Shepherd United Methodist Church's food pantry. (PHOTO / CRISTEN SMITH/FLASHLIGHTS & FIREFLIES PHOTOGRAPHY)
Kendall Preston collected all this food for Good Shepherd United Methodist Church’s food pantry. (PHOTO / CRISTEN SMITH/FLASHLIGHTS & FIREFLIES PHOTOGRAPHY)
Kendall Preston is dwarfed by huge stacks of canned and boxed food that she collected instead of asking for birthday presents. (PHOTO / CRISTEN SMITH/FLASHLIGHTS & FIREFLIES PHOTOGRAPHY)
Kendall Preston is dwarfed by huge stacks of canned and boxed food that she collected instead of asking for birthday presents. (PHOTO / CRISTEN SMITH/FLASHLIGHTS & FIREFLIES PHOTOGRAPHY)

HARVEST – Kendall Preston, a first-grader at Endeavor Elementary School, has shown true selflessness on her birthdays to help people in her community.

Instead of birthday presents, for three years Kendall has asked for canned goods and non-perishable food for her church’s pantry.

“When she turned five, Kendall stated, ‘Santa was really good to her’ and she still had unopened presents in her closet,” her mother Joy Preston said. “Kendall didn’t need presents so I suggested we help our church’s food pantry.”

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church’s food pantry had approximately 475 visits from people needing food in 2014.

Joy isn’t sure if Kendall fully grasps the concept of people not having adequate food. “Her heart is huge. I told her the pantry was hit hard (during) Thanksgiving and Christmas, and January would be the perfect time to help replenish it. She loved the idea,” Joy said.

About 40 kids attended Kendall’s party. “She’s a social butterfly,” Joy said. “Kendall had friends, family, schoolmates and complete strangers that wanted to contribute to her ‘project,'” Joy said.

After the party, Kendall didn’t have second thoughts. “She enjoyed her time of fellowship. Every bag of canned goods that came in made her eyes shine,” Joy said.

Kendall collected about 100 grocery bags of food … peanut butter, rice, canned meats and cereal among the donations. Joy estimated the groceries’ value at $1,500. Lisa Jorden with Texas Roadhouse donated $50 worth of food. Heidi Knight School of Dance also donated.

For hobbies, Kendall studies dance at Heidi Knight’s school and plays basketball and softball. Kendall’s father is Ed Preston. Her sister Macenzie is a junior at Sparkman High school. Her brother Caden is in fifth grade at Endeavor.

“The heart of one little girl is helping so many in her own community,” family friend Cristen Smith said. “Kendall is beautiful inside and out and so much fun to be around.”

“This child will do big things. Wait and see,” Joy said.

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