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Youngster tries to help out homeless

For The Madera Tribune

Hazel Allinder fills up backpacks she intends to hand out to those less fortunate. She made four backpacks and has handed out two.


Even at an early age, nine-year-old Hazel Allinder has been wanting to help out less fortunate than her.

“She’s always been interested in stopping and giving homeless people food,” Hazel’s mother, Sara, said. “Before Christmas of last year, she said she wanted to have someone to stay with us so they know what it’s like to have a house or live in a house. I told her it was probably not going to happen, but let’s think about something we could do. That’s when we came with the idea of doing care packages.”

Hazel’s kindness has not gone unnoticed. She opened the eyes of a friend and church member Vonny Sturgeon who wrote about Hazel’s kindness and was impressed about what she saw.

“Vonny is one of our church members and a friend of the family,” Allinder said. “She was impressed of what Hazel did. It was unexpected, but very sweet on her part. It was something we weren’t looking for, at all, but very nice.”

Sara and Hazel thought of things to put into a backpack. Sara did some research and found some interesting items posted on the Madera Rescue Mission website to include in a care package.

“We came up with our own list. I ended up ordering things on,” Sara said.

Hazel and Sara was able to put together four backpacks. They kept the backpacks in the car and let Hazel pick out who to give the backpacks to.

“She would always see someone and want to stop to help them,” Sara said. “Her and her dad passed two of them out. I wasn’t with her, but it was a man and woman who had a dog. Hazel is completely into dogs. They stopped and she likes to talk to everybody. They had a little conversation. She talked to them and played with the dog. We still have a couple of backpacks to pass out.

“Her personality is more outgoing than mine. She is more social than I am. It’s a great instinct and it’s something we don’t want to discourage. That’s why we came up with the backpack idea. This is what she enjoys doing. It makes me happy.”

For this first project, the Allinders funded the four backpacks themselves.

“We did it on our own and that’s part of the reason why we only did four,” Sara said. “We had a long list of things to include. We started with this and if she wants to continue doing this, we would come up with a way to be able to continue doing it.”

Sara said this is completely up to Hazel and what she wants to do. However, Sara says she is open if she wants to continue making care packages or other doing other projects.

“We want to treat people with respect and be kind,” Sara said. “That’s true for my husband and I. Hazel has an instinct for helping those less fortunate. It’s not something I want to discourage.”

“Don’t be afraid of people who are homeless,” Hazel said. “Just talk to them and be friendly. It will make you smile and make them feel happy. And, it will make you feel happy too.”

Sara said that Hazel has also asked to help the less fortunate when they go to an eating establishment.

“We’ve stopped and given folks food before,” Sara said. “Everybody has been very polite and grateful. We haven’t had any problems. She knows she has to have an adult with her. We make sure everything is all right for her to go up to someone.”

Currently, the Allinders still have backpacks to hand out. As for the next project, it will be up to Hazel and what she wants to do.

“We’re going slow right now,” Sara said. “We’re letting her interest drive with what we do. If she wants to keep doing it after we hand the other two out, it’s something we will encourage and go from there. It’s driving from her interest.”

Hazel is a fourth grader at John Adams Elementary School.

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