Sofia Lopez wants to give back and she’s using her birthday to do so.
This year, instead of birthday gifts, Sofia has asked family and friends to donate to Isaiah’s Kitchen, a food outreach charity in Hobbs, and hopefully, by her eighth birthday on Jan. 16, the charity will benefit.
It all started a few weeks ago. Sofia and her family went to the store and saw a man in need, asking for food, and went to buy him a McDonald’s meal. However, when they came back to give it to him, another man in need asking for food was with him.
“It really made me think we could do more,” Sofia said.
Maria Garcia, Sofia’s mother, explained this isn’t the first time they have helped someone in need, but now that Sofia is old enough she continued to think about it. Garcia then asked her daughter if she would like to do more to help others, and Sofia agreed.
“Her birthday was coming up and we suggested if she wanted to do something more meaningful than a birthday party and she went with it,” Maria said. “She liked it. …When she was younger she would notice and ask but move on because she was younger.”
Sofia is a student at Coronado Elementary School and dreams of going to space or being a dentist when she grows up. She spends her time with her family while learning ballet and tap dancing at Studio M. She also enjoys giving back to others because it is important and she hopes others will also give back.
“I want other children to think about it, and try to do it like I did,” Sofia said. “I wish the homeless to have a good life like other people.”
To celebrate her birthday, Sofia will have one friend over and bake a cake instead of a party and presents. The money that would have been used for a party and the presents others would have bought her will instead be donations of sugar, canned goods, non-perishables and snack cups.
“Instead of sending invitations for a birthday party we invited our friends and family in doing this,” Maria explained. “Everyone was very responsive. … It’s so heartwarming to see that she understands the importance and the impact that it is going to have.”
Maria explained the family already has 10 people committing to donating and buying extra groceries this week, some donations will even come from out of state.
Sofia and Maria will collect the items and drop them off on Jan. 13, three days before Sofia turns eight.
Isaiah’s Kitchen Founder and Executive Director Renee Madron explained this isn’t the first time a child has thought of others and donated. As recently as November, an 8-year-old donated money to Isaiah’s Kitchen, but she continues to be amazed to see donations from young people.
“Think about an 8-year-old donating all of their birthday money?” Madron said. “It is very kind, and how our community teaches our children to think of others. We have the most giving community that I know of.”
Madron explained approximately 100 people come to the kitchen every day and items are always needed. She said having or not having a bag of sugar will decide if people have tea or not.
“It all adds up so we can do it on a regular basis,” Madron said. “Every little drop helps. One bag of sugar will make five containers of tea.”
As Sofia turns eight she wishes those in need will have a happy future.
“I want to tell all the homeless people, I wish them a happy New Year because it is the time right now,” Sofia said. “I wish that they have a good life in the future, and have money to get food in the future.”
To help donate for Sofia’s birthday, contact Maria at 575-650-7370.
Christina Rankin may be reached at .