SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Like millions of children around the world, Springfield’s Eddie Gagnon has a Christmas wish, but he’s not asking for a brand new iPad or the latest game, he’s asking for human compassion.
The 7-year-old wants things like gloves, hand warmers, and granola bars to make “Hand Up” bags for western Massachusetts’ homeless population.
“It’s a bag where you put stuff you can donate to people that don’t really have a lot of stuff,” he explained.
Eddie’s mother, Kristin, said they started making the Hand Up bags a couple of years ago to teach the kids to be grateful for what they were getting for Christmas. It’s a lesson that has really resonated with Eddie.
“This year when we asked him what he wanted for Christmas, all he kept saying was, ‘More supplies for the Hand Up bags, more supplies for the Handup Bags,'” Kristin said.
The empathetic 7-year-old even asked his mother for help uploading a video on YouTube to request these supplies for Christmas from everyone they knew.
“It’s a time you can spend time with your family and stuff and the homeless people kind of don’t really have families I think for Christmas,” Eddie said.
He said he wants to hand out these bags to the less fortunate to help make a better community.
“It makes me feel happy,” he said.
Kristin said Eddie has always had a huge heart. He also has a huge goal for this Christmas season:
“A thousand [bags] in a week,” Eddie said. “A thousand a week!”
That’s a big goal!
“Eh…. It means we have to go all across the world!”
His mom created this wish list of supplies on Amazon for whoever is interested in helping make his Christmas wish come true.
“As a parent, I couldn’t be more proud of him, it’s just who he is as a kid we’re really lucky to be his parents and we’re just really proud of him,” she said.
Homelessness jumped 14 percent in Massachusetts from 2017 to 2018. Nearly 3,000 people were experiencing homelessness in western Massachusetts one night in January of 2018, according to data collected by the Three County Continuum of Care.
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