Every December, students at Riverbend School in Athol, Massachusetts write down their holiday wishes on paper mitten-shaped ornaments and hang them on a "wishing tree."
This year, 8-year-old David Karras Jr. asked for something extra special — help for a friend's family who had their water shut off after struggling with bills.
Karras and Kristian Yagovane have been friends since they were young. Yagovane lives with his mother Vanessa Mundell, who is unemployed and seeking work. The boys enjoy building Legos, watching movies, and playing the video game "Skylanders together." Though they fight sometimes, Karras didn't hesitate to seek help for his friend when he needed it.
"I felt bad about my friend because he didn't have water," he told the Boston Globe.
Mundell had seen the bills and fees stack up — and then the pipes froze. She and her son were forced to shower at family members' homes and use jugs of water to wash dishes and drink. Every day their situation grew more desperate, and she knew they couldn't live without running water much longer.
Luckily, help was already on its way.
When Salvation Army Lieutenant Michael Buzzard picked up the school's holiday food drive donations, he noticed the wishing tree and, in particular, Karras's note. After reading the children's holiday wishes, he was so touched by their selflessness that he went to his car for 20 minutes and cried.
"It put it in perspective of why we were putting all this effort in," Buzzard told the Boston Globe. "For that moment when I saw the tree and the mittens… it was about these kids."
Overcome with emotion, he decided to take action.
But that was easier said than done. With the local Salvation Army's resources already pushed to its limits, Buzzard appealed to local businesses and churches for donations. He also set up a "love offering" collection at a Salvation Army service.
Inspired by Karras and Buzzard's kindness, the local community united to raise nearly $1000 to help the Mundell family pay their bills.
When Buzzard gave Mundell the good news, she couldn't believe it.
"As soon as I hung up with him and called my mom, I started bawling telling her about it," Mundell told the Globe.
By helping the Mundell family when they needed it most, Karras and Buzzard showed just how much can be accomplished through wishful thinking.
(H/T: The Boston Globe)