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Junior sacrifices receiving gift to help others

Savacool
Savacool

Savacool

Savacool

Emmalee Dysktra, Editor-in-Chief

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While many people focus locally when helping others during the holiday season, junior Shelby Savacool has a unique and meaningful tradition during the holidays that extends globally.

“Each year, my aunt buys animals, such as goats, chickens, ducks, and donkeys, in my name,” Savacool said. “They are given to poor families in other countries to provide for their families and towns.”

Since she was in third grade, Savacool’s aunt, DeEtte Minerly, has been buying the animals from World Vision, an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization, for one reason that epitomizes the meaning of giving but not receiving.

“She started this tradition to help people who need things more than we do,” Savacool said. “We have too much, and the people who receive these animals are lucky to have three meals a day, so getting the animals helps provide basic biological needs.”

The twist to the story?

Savacool doesn’t receive a gift from her aunt at Christmas.

“I don’t get a gift from my aunt during the holidays,” Savacool said. “It doesn’t bother me at all; in fact, it makes me genuinely happy that I am helping others.”

To Savacool, it is more than just a silly tradition that she overlooks during the holiday season.

“I feel extremely honored to have this done in my name because I feel like helping others is more important to me than getting a $30 gift from my aunt,” she said.

Savacool said that Christmas is more than giving and receiving gifts. Focusing on the real reason for the holiday is what Savacool tries to do.

“To me, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, and it’s a great time to be close to my family,” Savacool said. “Giving back has a huge role in my faith, so I feel like I am commemorating Jesus when I receive the honor of giving the animals rather than receiving a gift; in fact, at church, we raise money for this around the holidays too.”

Savacool said she hopes to continue a tradition similar to the one she participates in now when she has a family of her own one day.

“When I’m older, I would love to do something like this for my own kids and/or my family members. Carrying on this tradition would mean a lot to not only myself, but I am sure my aunt, too.”

Minerly was unable to comment because she was out of the country, but Savacool gave her thoughts on what she believes her aunt feels.

“I would say that she feels like she is making a difference in someone else’s life, and that is the most important and best feeling around this time of year,” Savacool said.

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