When Kerri Regoli saw a Facebook post from Bethel Bible Village discussing the nonprofit's limited supplies and asking for basic donations, she saw an opportunity — not for herself, but for the nonprofit as well as her son, Lewis Sylar.
Her 4-year-old boy had just learned about the work of missionaries, and walking proudly into Silverdale Baptist Church with a Bible under his arm, he had decided he wanted to be one. But his mother wanted him to know that even now, at 4 years old and with no experience, he could still make a difference.
"I think most kids feel like whatever their life is, is normal and the same for others, so we try to keep him aware that isn't always the case," she said.
So when she saw Bethel was in need, she mentioned it to him and encouraged her son to act.
And act he did, beginning with a note to his Silverdale Baptist and East Hamilton community, explaining: "My name is Lewis and I am 4 years old. I am learning that, though I am little, I can do big things. Will you help me to collect food for our local children's home?"
Then, he and his mother went door to door collecting donations. First it was two items. Then 10. Soon, they had 540 items to give to Bethel.
"We looked out the window and saw a 4-year-old and a 2-and-a-half-year-old running in our front yard one day," said Kathy Casey, social media director for Bethel. " That was the first I had heard of [Lewis and his mother].
"It touches our hearts the most when kids give. When they hear that there are kids who don't have parents it just does something. They understand it on a level that is so personal and so sincere."
Regoli encourages others to recognize what her son did: that small things can make a big difference.
"I think people think if they can't help monetarily that it doesn't make a difference or if you can't make a big donation it doesn't matter, but some people only donated two cans," she said. "But even just $1.50 when it was combined with everything else, it was amazing. Even if your part is a little part, it can be part of something bigger."
For more information on Bethel, visit bethelbiblevillage.org.