News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013
NEW ELLENTON, S.C. (WRDW) -- The pictures don't look like an 11-year-old's birthday party, but that's exactly what it is and more.
The birthday girl, Kailyn McDaniel, is the one with the red hair and the purple tiara.
Her mother, Jamie, remembers asking Kailyn about her birthday plans.
"Well, we were ridin' down the road, and I asked her, 'What do you want for your birthday, what do you wanna do?' And she just sat there and thought and said, 'Mom, I wanna host a food drive.'"
That's right -- what Kailyn wanted more than a party was to do something for someone else.
"I decided since it was my birthday, it would be a really big deal," Kailyn said.
"And I about ran off the road, 'cause I was like -- you're 11! Who wants to host a food drive at 11?" her mother said.
But that's exactly what they did. Her family helped set up a tent on the side of the road in New Ellenton where Kailyn spent the day waving down traffic and asking people to donate.
"We had 20 to 30 people come and raised about $260 in cash and about a thousand pounds of food," Jamie said.
Ask anybody at Golden Harvest Food Bank and they'll tell you that every dollar donated means more than $7 worth of groceries. That is no small thing.
The 11-year-old's mom says, "It melted my heart."
Kailyn learned something that day: When you do something for someone else, it feels pretty good.
"Yes, it's very fun," Kailyn said. "Because you know you will feel good after you do it. And it just feels really good when you do it."
Jamie learned something, too. Her 11-year-old, who's just heading to middle school, is a pretty special daughter.
"She has a heart of gold. She has a big heart and she would do anything for anybody."
As for Kailyn, she's taking all the attention in stride.
"I'm really happy I got nominated and that I won. I never thought I'd get an opportunity like this," she said.
Kailyn's next project may be a cleanup day -- she's had her eye on a few parks that need some attention -- or maybe a fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. She's a very busy girl with a big heart.
And, of course, News 12 also wants to thank to our Time To Care partners, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Ashley Furniture Home Store and Subway, for making this all possible.