When it comes to celebrating your teenager’s birthday, what is on their list? A new car, ipod, phone or some extra cash? Well, not for this Dell Rapids sophomore. Miriam Pickard, a tenth grader at Dell Rapids Public School, asked her friends and family for something different this year.
Miriam requested in lieu of gifts, donations be made to assist two families in Deeside, Jamaica to assist in covering the children’s costs for school. The families she is sponsoring needed $1,000 for book and school fees, not including uniforms, shoes, backpacks or supplies.’
“I have been to Jamaica five times over the past seven years,” Miriam explained. “I’ve made a lot of Jamaican friends. I’ve also seen their living conditions. Driving through Jamaica, it’s hard to miss the people standing on the road desperate to sell anything they can get their hands on in order to bring home an income, an income barely enough to survive off of.”
“Their idea of necessities are different than ours,” Miriam said. “Some have small one room tin homes with no running water. These houses are home to an entire family who in some cases is fortunate to eat a meal a day.”
Miram has also been able to help some of these people through VBS and an organization called the Care House. At the Care House, staple foods are bought in bulk and offered to families around the community. Items like rice, beans, and oil are provided.
“Since our last trip, I heard of a family of four kids who were left providing for themselves,” Miriam explained. “The oldest daughter being, at the time, 18. One of the children had been hospitalized repeatedly for different illnesses. I had been thinking about them and praying for them for a while.”
“During a church service last winter, I thought about what I had asked for Christmas gifts,” Miriam said. “I knew my parents spending amount and figured I wouldn’t get the one item I really wanted, airpods. After thinking about it, I realized my friends in Jamaica would not be getting gifts and the least I could do was offer them some money to buy whatever they like as a Christmas gift. I figured it wouldn’t be anything that was on my list. Instead, they bought food and toilet paper.”
“Going into my birthday I realized again, the one thing I wanted, a Tesla, was not likely to be wrapped up on my birthday,” Miriam joked. “I also didn’t regret my choice over Christmas and wanted to do it again. At the time, I didn’t know who the money would go to or what it would go towards but I knew it would be better utilized by whoever received it.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of her as a Dad,” Miriam’s father, Sam Pickard said. “I am super proud of Miriam. Her selflessness, generosity and her love for others.”
If you are able to help Miriam, go to https:therescuechurch.churchcenter.com/giving. Once on the page, click the drown down and select “The Care House – Feeding the Deeside Jamaica Community” to donate online. If you would like to send a check, the address to The Rescue Church is 300 E 2nd Avenue Flandreau, SD 57028. Please include a note that says, “Care House Back To School.”
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