The homeless community will be getting a true gift from the heart this Valentine's Day thanks to a 10-year-old.
Lauren Johnson, a fifth-grader at Sunset Elementary School in Livermore, started "Lauren's Love" by using her own savings to make care packages to donate to homeless shelters and others who are less fortunate. This week, Lauren plans on handing out chocolate bars she bought, wrapped and decorated for Valentine’s Day because Lauren says, "Homeless people need Valentines too."
Lauren's mom, Heather Johnson, says Lauren tries to always keep care packages in the car in case she sees someone in need while they are out in town.
According to Johnson, Lauren asks to do chores around the house to earn money for Lauren's Love.
Johnson wrote, via email:
"She has collected coats, blankets and pillows to donate as well. She realizes that the needs of people do not stop at food. She has mentioned that the public see homeless people and think they only need food, but she thinks beyond that. She gives out things that we generally don’t think about. Simple items she includes, such as tissue packets, hand sanitizer, soap, hair brushes, tooth brushes/tooth paste, socks, etc. She realizes that aside from being hungry, there are many other items they lack. Items that are important to anyone, things we use daily, and things we take for granted.
"Although her father and I have always encouraged giving to others, she has taken it to the next level on her own. She gets so much gratification in knowing she has done something for someone. She never expects anything in return, but instead walks away feeling so fulfilled and so incredibly thankful for what she has. It really puts things in perspective for her. She realizes how lucky and fortunate we are as a family. Her passion in life is certainly giving to others. She has made such a big difference for so many people at a young age of 10. Her vision is to continue giving, but wants to do so much more and on such a larger scale. As far as her future, she has plans on continuing to give."
Lauren and her mom plan on delivering the handmade Valentines to the homeless shelter this week. Johnson says they have previously dropped care packages at Vineyard Christian Fellowship on North Livermore Avenue and plan to drop the Thursday treats with the Livermore Homeless Refuge.
Do you know Lauren? Give her a shout out in the comments section below.