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Little Girl Demonstrates Huge Heart

February 21, 2011

By J. Blake Ragsdale

Erin sits at the table with her colorful paints and markers. The six-year-old opens a small bottle and dabs green paint onto her brush. The piece of paper set before her becomes covered with colorful swashes creating shapes.

“Erin, you’re doing so well,” Melissa Miller says as she admires her daughter’s artistic flair. “Do you think my art is good enough to sell?” Erin asks as she studies her newest creation. “Could we give the money to a charity for Christmas?”

Melissa named charitable places in the Lenoir area where they lived. When her mother mentioned the young mothers and babies living at Baptist Children’s Homes’ Care House, Erin knew she had pinpointed the right recipients.

With Erin’s desire to make a difference now specifically focused, she contacted her first sales prospect - grandmother Faye Storie.

“She called me and told me what she was doing,” Storie recalls. She became Erin’s first art buyer. “It blew us away how God was taking this ordinary girl and doing something wonderful. She was gung-ho and did not stop.”

The evidence of Erin’s determination revealed itself on November 21 when she showed up at Setzer Creek Baptist Church, her home church in Lenoir, carrying a bag overflowing with her artwork. Pastor Gary Teague let Erin set up a table to display her creations and the sign she made naming the price for each piece. She received $176.00 that first day.

“It became a church effort, and we all rallied around her,” Pastor Teague says. “Erin loves Jesus; she just wants to make Him happy.”

The Royal Ambassadors from the church were inspired by Erin’s desire to help. The boys created a fundraiser of their own collecting $300.00 to aid Erin’s cause.

Erin spent long hours creating picture after picture. On Thanksgiving Day, she woke up early and began drawing requests made by church members. She didn’t stop until the sun was setting.

Erin also spent her time phoning relatives and friends to share with them her plan to help the babies at Care House. As she pushed towards her goal, those around her responded in earnest. More and more money was collected. Erin took every cent she received and stored it safely away in a special box.

In just three weeks, the small box contained a total of $1,108.05.

The last thing on Erin’s list was traveling to Care House to deliver her earnings and meet the teenage mothers and babies.

“I hope it helps them buy clothes and some other things,” Erin says.

Erin, her family, and the RAs from the church organized a Christmas pizza party at Care House on December 13. BCH’s residents and staff members were astounded by all that Erin accomplished.

“We were gratified and amazed that this child would take all this upon herself for Care House,” said Care House program director Donna Lail. “The Bible talks about how a little child will lead them, and Erin has done that. She did it as an example of her faith.”

For the creative little girl with a big heart, faith is indeed what it’s all about.

“I believe this makes God happy,” she says. “He wants us to help other people, and He wants us to help each other.”

Photo: David Prewitt, The News-Topic