by Susan Mikula Campbell
The Stoddards of Wheatfield are a giving family.
If someone is in need, Jennifer and Joel and their children Kyle, 7, and Zachary, 4, try to help out. It might be something as simple as taking flowers and homemade cards to Crestwood nursing home residents or buying a Tim Hortons gift card and leaving it at the drive-through window to pay for orders of strangers coming behind them.
"It's a good thing to do. You help your fellow man," said Jen. "That's just how we roll."
So, it wasn't really surprising when Kyle, after spotting a flyer his mom had brought home from her job at United Health Care advertising a youngster's fundraiser for the Food Bank of Buffalo, decided he wanted to do something similar.
Kyle's Guarding Warriors fundraiser/basket auction will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Wheatfield Community Center on the Town Hall campus, 2800 Church Road.
With help from his mom, Kyle decided on two charities his fundraiser will benefit. Cornerstone Manor Women's and Children's Shelter in Buffalo was selected because one of Kyle's grandmothers was a single mom.
Kyle will be collecting single serve snacks, coloring books, character towels and washcloths for Cornerstone.
Disabled Veterans was chosen in honor of Jen's brother, William Severance of Wheatfield, a sergeant with the Army National Guard out of the Connecticut Street Armory in Buffalo. Last year, when Uncle Bill was deployed overseas, Kyle helped collect snack items to send for him to share with his unit.
Kyle will help the Disabled Veterans by collecting toys for veterans' children at Christmas.
He chose Kyle's Guiding Warriors for his logo. Mom had suggested Kyle's Hope, but he wanted something more "manly" and "catchy."
Kyle's parents and extended family are pitching in to help his event succeed and taking his flyers to their offices. (Dad is a sales rep for Juicy Vapor, an electronic cigarette business.)
Kyle's Guarding Warriors already has collected a number of donated baskets for the auction, plus a large ticket item - a football autographed by Jim Kelly. Kyle commented on his blog that, "I guess the guy who signed it is a famous player."
In addition to the basket auction, the Dec. 21 event will feature games and crafts for kids, pizza, popcorn, baked goods, and even chair massages. Admission is a donation to Kyle's Guiding Warriors causes, for which donors will receive a sheet of basket raffle tickets. Additional tickets will be available.
Kyle is a second-grader at Errick Road Elementary School, where he works hard to get good grades. He's hoping to get fellow students and teachers involved in his cause as well.
He has taken karate lessons for 21/2 years at Yi-Dan Cha Gi Martial Arts Center and has already earned his academic and community service patches. He plays soccer and baseball.
"He's a good kid all the way around," his mom says.
In his Nov. 25 blog, Kyle asked, "With Thanksgiving almost here, what are you Thankful for. I am thankful for my house, my pets, my brother, my Mom and Dad, Grandma and Pappa, my cousins my Aunts and Uncles and thankful to be me.
"We talked about strong words today in school, I am greatful to be me. I am also greatful for icecream. I am greatful to have toys because some kids don't have any. I am greatful to have food and water because some people don't have that."
When he grows up, Kyle wants to be a scientist and "make potions." Why? Why else - "to help people."
For more information or to make a donation of a basket, a prize or baked goods to Kyle's event, email Jen Stoddard at email@example.com. Follow Kyle's blog for regular updates on his progress at http://kylesguardingwarriors.weebly.com.