Combining her love for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with her deep concern for the plight of the homeless, seven-year-old Letty Lockhart last year donated 170 pounds of food and 62 self-made sandwiches to People Helping People in Hernando County. They are an interfaith community established to provide food, clothing and other basic necessities to individuals in need. Now this representative of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, a student at Westside Elementary, has won a statewide philanthropy award for her efforts.
When Patti Motzer told Letty that she would be the recipient of the auxiliary’s prestigious “Good Deed Award,” she expressed a keen interest in helping more. Motzer is the Children & Youth Chairman for American Legion Post 186 in Brooksville as well as District 15 of the American Legion Auxiliary Dept of FL
Indeed, when invited to accept her award on March 24 at Post 186, Letty was told that – on the same day – Auxiliary representatives would be making Pocket Flags for deployed Troops. Immediately, this young philanthropist volunteered to help. “Isn’t that wonderful?!” said Motzer. “Letty deserves to be recognized for all she does.”
Letty’s journey of giving began most literally on the road. “We sometimes drive by a homeless person on the street holding up a sign asking for help,” said mom Brittany Lockhart. “She’ll ask why he’s there. She’s concerned.”
Letty’s concern only grew as she learned that this person–along with many others–was hungry. “It makes me sad when people are hungry,” she explained at her March 24 awards ceremony. “They have no food, or have to eat yucky food that makes them sick.”
In May of last year, proud mother Brittany wrote to People Helping People, based in Spring Hill, explaining her daughter’s strong desire to help the homeless; and her plan of action to provide some needed assistance. Letty aimed to prepare peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (her own favorite food) and accompanying snacks to distribute among homeless people living in the woods, with little food and no place to call home.
When Letty set her mind and heart to something, her hands soon followed. She prepared 62 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the aid of 170 pounds of food donated by family members and friends. These sandwiches were handed out last summer at homeless campsites around the county, as distributed by People Helping People.
When Motzer read a chronicle of Letty’s efforts in The Hernando Sun, she felt that the child would make an ideal recipient for the American Legion Auxiliary Dept of FL’s “Good Deed Award.”
“I read the article about Letty and thought, ‘I really believe we have a winner!'”
Motzer and her associates were proud to present Letty with Post 186’s first Good Deed Award March 24. “This is my first time giving this award,” she said, emotion filling her voice. “Children like Letty, who help those in need, deserve the recognition.”
The Good Deed Award was created in 2002 “in recognition of a good deed, community service, and humanitarian contribution.”
“We are proud to present this award to you!” said Lynda Anderson, President of Charles E. Murray Unit 186. “We want to thank you for making a difference in your community. This award was created for boys and girls like you, who demonstrate a kind, caring act of selfishness.”
Also present for this event was Florida Department President of the American Legion Auxiliary Jane Hardacre. “I love what Letty has done,” Hardacre said. “She is a role model for other kids.”
The officers of Post 186 surprised Hardacre with a $1,000 donation for the auxiliary-supported Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express, which “serves the surviving spouses and children of fallen heroes. We are committed to year-round programming and support for families that honors their fallen hero, encourages them to make new memories, and provides opportunities to connect with others who know what they’ve been through.”
As Letty’s mother Brittany and grandmother Andrea Lockhart looked on with pride, Letty gave a simple two-word acceptance speech, “Thank you.” Aside from lending a hand to the flag making project, she also distributed information pertaining to her next community service project. She and sister Payton are collecting new pet items and food to help pets in the community. Donations will be given to pet shelters, homeless and senior pet owners.
To support this effort, bring donations of all types of dog and cat food, cat litter, cat and dog treats, cat and dog toys, pet bowls, dog harnesses and leashes, pet beds and other items from now through April 31 to Bargain City Bins, 3045 Commercial Way, Spring Hill.
“It’s people like Letty who give hope to this world,” said Executive Director of People Helping People in Hernando County, Inc., Kendra Kenney. “She may be a young girl, but she has a big heart. Her story has inspired others to donate showing that just one act of kindness can inspire others. Can you imagine the things she’ll do as a grown up? Wow.”