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Even Kids Can Change the World

While most kids her age were wrapped up in the excitement of the Christmas holidays, young Evelyn Yoder was looking for ways to help the homeless in the Lehigh Valley keep warm during the winter. The 8-year-old from Saucon Valley (PA) donated wool socks, gloves and caps to them during the season of giving just before Christmas.

She delivered 30 “Blessing Bags” to the Family Wash Day laundromat, on Linden St., Allentown, on Tuesday, Dec. 14. That was during “laundry ministry,” sponsored by St. Luke’s Parish Nurses, when homeless and underprivileged people can do their laundry there for free.

“The purpose of the laundry ministry has always been to share the gospel through loving action by giving dignity of clean clothing to our street neighbors,” says Deborah Bartholomew, RN, FCN, manager of Parish Nursing/Community Outreach for St. Luke’s. “Evelyn is sharing in that dignity outreach by giving the gift of warmth to our neighbors.”

This third grader at Saucon Valley Elementary School was inspired to do this good deed while learning a song at school, called “Make a difference.” Her chorus teacher leading the class told the singers that even kids can change the world.

The song’s final stanzas say it all: “We can make a difference in our world today/Together we can make our world a better place/When we work together so much can be done/If all the children in the world would sing in unison/We know what’s right, and we know what to do/The future can be brighter, it’s up to me and you.”

“She told us that 8-year-olds can change the world, so I thought, ‘why not me?’” says Evelyn, the daughter of St. Luke’s physician Nicki Yoder, DO.

She had seen homeless people outside at a local shopping complex and was worried about how they will keep warm in the winter, explains Dr. Yoder.

Her daughter’s curiosity and kind heart sparked her clever plan.

To raise funds to buy the goods, she baked and sold cookies, cupcakes and breads, netting $500, explains her mother. “Evelyn loves to bake, so this was a natural fit.”

She bought 30 pairs of socks, gloves and hats and stuffed them into individual “Blessing Bags,” as she calls them, along with healthy snacks.

But Evelyn wasn’t stopping there. Next, she delivered hats and gloves to Project Valor for homeless vets, then bought travel toiletries for the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter.

There may be no limit to her altruism, as the list of causes and needs seems to build uncontrolled.

She wasn’t looking for anyone to sing her praises for this generous and life-changing idea that all started with a song. And Evelyn is not likely to forget that song or the moment of inspiration at school as she tries to change the world one pair of warm, woolen gloves, socks or hat at a time.