I have vacillated over today’s ‘good people’ post, and I opted not to do the one I originally wrote. I feared it might stir controversy, and that is not what my good people posts are intended to do. Right decision? Wrong decision? I don’t know, and you may yet see it here later this week, but for today I do have one awesome ‘good people’ to introduce you to! It is a little good people with a huge heart!
Austin Perine of Birmingham, Alabama, is only four years old, but this little guy has won my heart! He knows, better than most adults, I think, the value of helping others. What were you doing when you were four-years old? The entire focus of my life at 4 was my dog, Shadow. I slept, played, and sucked my thumb at age 4, and that’s about all I can remember. Austin, however, leads a much different life than many 4-year-olds, for he is helping feed the homeless!
Here’s how it all started, according to Austin’s father, TJ Perine …
“This whole thing started when we were sitting at home watching Animal Planet and a baby panda was abandoned by its mom. Just to give him an answer, I told Austin that the panda would be homeless. Then he asked, ‘Well, are people homeless?’ and I said yes. That sparked an idea for him to want to come and feed the homeless, so here we are just a few months later.”
A few days later, TJ took Austin to one of the city’s homeless shelters to give him an up-close-and-personal view of what it means to be homeless. Not quite expecting Austin’s response …
“He said, ‘Can we feed them?’ I didn’t expect to feed homeless people that day. But when a 4-year-old asks you, what can you say?”
So, they headed to Burger King and picked up a batch of chicken sandwiches. Austin agreed to use his allowance to buy food instead of a weekly toy. And later, Austin told his parents he wanted to use all of his allowance from now on, plus any money they would spend to buy him a toy, to feed the homeless. As word of his mission spread, Burger King offered to give Austin an ‘allowance’ of $1,000 per month for a year to help him achieve his goal.
Austin wears a superhero cape when he goes on his feeding outings with his father. At Linn Park recently, the little guy handed sandwiches and drinks to the homeless. Every time, he exclaimed, “Don’t forget to show love!”
Birmingham’s mayor, Randall Woodfin, calls him “the city’s ambassador” …
“It’s one of our younger generation that gets it and understands the importance of helping others. And it’s one that we all want to cherish and make of importance which is showing love.”
Now, at age 4, Austin is definitely a ‘good people’, but Austin had some help, I do believe. I think we should also shine a light on TJ for helping show Austin the way, for himself being possessed of a big heart. Caught up in Austin’s enthusiasm, TJ started a GoFundMe called Show Love Fight Hunger, and he has plans to expand on Austin’s good works …
“We’ve gotten a lot of support from the country, and what we want to do is expand from more than just giving out sandwiches.”
His vision is to build a facility that addresses the many causes of homelessness.
“Mental illness, drug abuse, addiction, and things like that. Austin and I want to build a facility and get some specialists in there that can actually help these people get back into the workforce.”
I think that the apple has not fallen far from the tree.
A few of the homeless at Linn Park knew little Austin with his superhero cape, and exchanged hugs and fist bumps. Those who did not know him were flabbergasted. One homeless man said he’d never seen anything like this. Austin explained how doing this makes him feel inside …
“When I feed the homeless it makes me really happy and I think what I do is very special. When I grow up I want to be president. My jobs when I become president would be to feed the homeless and to chase the bad guys out of schools.”
I don’t know about you all, but I really, really want this little guy to grow up to be president!!!
Now, Austin has one last good deed I want to share with you that has nothing to do with feeding the homeless. Austin’s older brother, Taylor, 16, has severe autism. Austin … well, check out the tweet for yourself …Now, isn’t that the pinnacle of brotherly love? Big kudos to Austin Perine, his dad TJ, and also for Burger King and everyone else who has so generously helped Austin in his quest to be a good people and feed the homeless. Here’s to the future President of the United States, Austin Perine!