Matthew Morris was moved to do something after seeing children asking for underwear on the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. That really bothered him, his mother Melanie Morris said.
"No child should have to ask for underwear for Christmas," Matthew said in a tearful video posted on YouTube and Facebook, in which he explained what he was doing and why. He went home and cleaned out his room selling his own stuff – games, toys, electronics – in an auction on Facebook to raise money to buy things for the kids on the angel tree,
He raised more than $1,000, with the help of local businesses and the Southside Riders Association, who provided gift cards to auction and help spreading the word. On Thursday, Matthew, his parents Aaron and Melanie Morris, and a lot of helpers loaded buggies at Walmart with toys and clothes to provide for 10 children on the angel tree, including a family with six children, his mother said Friday.
Matthew was also able to provide clothes and toys to the Salvation Army for other children, he explained on the Matthew’s Christmas List group page on Facebook.
“We bought a ton of other toys for kids that we do not have tags for," Matthew said. "We just started filling up my buggy with little toys that all children like — cars, trucks, Barbies, dolls, games, balls, puzzles and things like that.”
Matthew wrote, “I never thought I could get even the three kids a Christmas present but we bought so much. My buggy was full of stuff and we had guys and their wives from the Southside Riders that helped us shop and pushed buggies around the store for us. It was incredible. I couldn’t stop crying when we checked out.”
The Salvation Army goal is to provide these angels with three presents at Christmas. The list has many items on them because they want to give the buyer a few options, explained Dennis Scott, president of the Southside Riders Association, who has worked with the Salvation Army to provide for children on the angel trees around town.
“Matthew accomplished his goal and then some,” Scott said. “Three presents was not enough. Each of the 10 Angels had every wish fulfilled. Shoes, coats, socks, bicycles, dolls, balls, arts and crafts, games, filled several shopping carts. In addition, Matthew saw that he was fortunate to have more money than he was originally going to spend, so he stocked up several buggies full of generic toys that will be taken to the Salvation Army to be added to other Angels that still need items.”
Scott said, “Matthew set out to make a difference in a few kids lives at Christmas. Along the way, he managed to make a difference in the life of many more than the original plan. Along the way he touched the life of many of us by displaying the true meaning of giving selflessly.”
Scott and the Morris family thanked those who supported Matthew’s efforts, as did Matthew. “Just thank you for the bottom of my heart so much. I would like to give personal thanks to my mom and dad for all the support they have so kindly given," Matthew wrote.
"I thank you all for the support, donations, and love you have given me and my family," he said. "And most of all, given these children the best Christmas ever!”
This effort is not over. Matthew is making plans for next year, Scott said. “Many thanks to you Matthew for being a phenomenal young man with a heart of gold. Thank you for the gift you have given us.”