Heartland girl's birthday wish is to help others in need

SOUTHEAST MISSOURI (KFVS) - One Heartland girl didn't ask for anything when it came to her 10th birthday. Instead, she wanted to give gifts to others that are in need.

Mariah decided someone else might need the gift more.

And the amount she was going to give was not what her family was expecting.

"As it always gets closer to her birthday I ask 'what do you want for your birthday?' and as it got closer she was like let me think about it let me think about it," Crystal Owens said.

When Mariah Loya couldn't think of anything she wanted for her 10th birthday she decided she wanted to give to Operation Christmas Child.

"I already have a lot of stuffed animals," Loya said.

Mariah's mother Crystal asked for guests to bring small items that would fit in a shoebox for children expecting to fill about 10 boxes instead of bringing birthday gifts.

"I really just did not expect this great of a turn out it was really nice, have that many donate it meant a lot to me, not just for a birthday but to give they're going to touch a lot of families," Owens said.

But the gift of giving spread on instead of giving 10 boxes they gave 76.

And when it came to $504 in shipping costs, donations were coming in.

"We had a lot of people donate, not just gifts but money for shipping we felt led to do it and we did and it's been covered it's been neat how it worked out," Owens said.

It's a gift Mariah didn't get for herself but for others and she's thankful for it.

"Thank you it's always better to give than to recieve," Loya said.

Her parents say people are still wanting to give.

Mariah turns 10 on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 and her shoebox donations will be dropped off this week at Stokelan Drive Christian Church.

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