Here to Help: Eliah’s jar goes far

So much of life is about how we react.  Just ask Eliah, an 11-year-old member of the Joplin community.

Like many of us, Eliah’s been spending a lot of time at home, so he’s been feeling the way a lot of kids do right now.

Eliah: I’m ready to get outside.

Over the last year or so, Eliah’s been slowly saving money in a jar in his room.  The other night, he was finally ready to spend it.

Jackie: He wanted to go to Dollar General to get some snacks and some food and some soda for his siblings to do a movie night.

Jackie: Instead of him bringing in that big old jar, because it was a big jar, I said you can pay me later so you don’t have to carry it around. But what Mom didn’t do is Mom forgot to lock the doors.

After picking out snacks, the two of them walked out of the store and noticed someone messing with their car.

Jackie: I think your first thought might’ve been what you yelled, “Wait! That’s my money!”and I think I threw my hands up saying “What are you doing?” It startled the guy, he jumped in his car, and drove backwards out of the parking lot.

Even with security footage, there was no way to get his jar of savings back.  Eliah was devastated.

Sergio: Initially he was angry. I think one of the things he said was “Why did they need to take our money if they have such a nice car?” As time went on, he just rustled through some of those feelings and I think it’s natural for us to go through those feelings. Later in the evening, he was talking with his mom, and what did he say?

Jackie: He said you know, I’m not so mad anymore at them taking my money. It’s just money. I’m just glad we’re all safe.

His dad posted the footage to Facebook later that night as a reminder for all of his friends to be careful.  One of those friends is Travis Hurley who runs Watered Gardens, a local emergency overnight shelter.

Travis: Friends on Facebook started responding saying they wanted to fill up Eliah’s jar with money again,

Suddenly, Eliah’s jar was filled higher than it’d been in the first place; that’s when he decided it was bigger than him too.

Travis: and when they let Eliah know that, he said he would rather the money go to Watered Gardens.

Travis: Just as a fellow human being and a member of this community, it made me proud of Eliah. I was really impressed with his generous spirit and his heart for those in this community.

Eliah: We know there are people who work there and a lot of people who used to live there and we know how much they work for stuff so we just wanted to get it to them.

Reminding us that life is about more than what happens to us, it’s about how we respond and the difference a choice any of us can make.

Click here to learn more about Watered Gardens and its mission.