FORT SMITH (KFSM)-- A 3rd grader in Fort Smith celebrated her 9th birthday on March 29th, but she told her parents she didn't want presents. Instead she said she wanted to help people living in the River Valley.
Stella Simpson didn’t make a birthday list this year because she said she believes giving is better than receiving.
“I already have a lot of food and toys, and the people that we're giving the food and money to they don't have a lot of things,” Stella said.
Instead of presents, Stella asked her friends and family to give her money and food donations to take to the River Valley Regional Food Bank.
“One of my friends recently had a birthday, and she was giving art supplies to people, and it made me think food helps a lot of people,” Stella said.
Stella's parents set up a GoFundMe account and set the goal at $200, but in just over a week, she had raised nearly $700, and people brought food donations to her birthday party.
“It shows a lot for a little girl to give up her presents to help raise funds for people that don't have, and that's pretty awesome to me,” Ted Clemons, the director of the River Valley Regional Food Bank, said.
Clemons said Stella's donation will go a long way.
“$700 will provide 5,600 meals for the community, but I don't think it's going to stop at 700,” Clemons said. “C'mon let's support this young lady in what she's doing.”
Stella said she plans to continue helping the food bank, and she hopes others do too.
“I want to inspire them to give food to more people like me,” Stella said.
Stella will be taking the donations to the food bank April 1st. You can donate to the GoFundMe here.