Fourth-grader’s heartbreaking Christmas wish: New shoes and a ‘happier life’

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NEW ORLEANS – A fourth-grade student’s wish for a “happier life” this Christmas left a local politician stunned after he chose the child’s gift list.

In an emotional Facebook post, New Orleans City Councilman-elect Jay Banks said he found the child’s wish while working with the annual Angel Tree program at a local YMCA.

Counselors and teachers at James Singleton Charter School write down the children’s Christmas lists as part of the annual program. Community members then donate what they can to make the holiday wishes come true.

Banks said he randomly picked the form from a stack, and it had just two requests – new shoes and a happier life.

“Put this in context, a 4th grade child has the opportunity to ask for what he wants for Christmas and this is what he asks for,” Banks wrote. “A new bike, an xbox, other toys or a multitude of other things would not have surprised nor alarmed me but for a 4th grader to ask for a happier life is heart wrenching.”

Banks said that while he can’t specifically remember much about the fourth grade, he does know he “wasn’t wishing for a happier life.” He wrote that the request left him “perplexed” and wondering how he could help both that child and others who might be in similar situations.

The post drew a flood of comments with many people offering support in different forms, from Christmas gifts to mentoring offers.

The Dryades YMCA where Banks found the wish list collects donations for a range of programs designed to help the surrounding community year round.

In the Quad Cities, Humility of Mary Housing is providing presents to families with children. Call Patti at 563-326-1330 if you would like to sponsor gifts for a family experiencing homelessness.

Humility of Mary Shelter is asking for Dollar Tree gift cards to give to shelter participants so they can pick out what they want or need. They were hoping to get a total of 175 gift cards for $20 by December 11th.  As of 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, December 6th they were still in need of 70 more gift cards and were also hoping to get 40 pairs of men’s gloves.

Click here for a list of other basic needs that the shelter is seeking. 

Donations can be brought to 3805 Mississippi Drive in Davenport, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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