Teen celebrates sweet sixteen by presenting Parsons charity with hundreds of dollars worth of donations


Gracie Gatton is paying it forward. The young girl received 400 dollars in donations from her peers, and with those funds, she’s been able to provide those suffering from homelessness with their own little blessings.

While some of us rang in our 16th birthday with a bash, Gracie Gatton is taking a more charitable route. For her birthday this year, Gracie asked her friends and family to help her make a donation to Safe Haven Outreach Mission in Parsons.

“I wanted to do something that wasn’t about me,” explained Gatton. “And God kind of led me to this Safe Haven place, so I was like, ‘Well, necessity bags would be a good thing to do.'”

Four hundred dollars in donations later, Gracie was able to make more than 40 blessing bags to donate to the homeless shelter — each donning an inspirational message or a biblical quote.

And, this generous gift came as a surprise to the Executive Director of Safe Haven, Melissa Brown.

“I had no idea — I had no idea she was collecting all of that,” said Brown. “She contacted me the other day about making a meal for the residents. So, her family came that night and I still had no idea what she was doing. Then she said, ‘Hey, I have these gift bags for you’ and I was just blown away because the back of their minivan was full of these gift bags.”

And, Gracie says her faith motivated her to do the kind act, and she hopes her kindness has a lasting effect on her community.

“I think it’s really important for people my age that you can make an impact in your community and I just really want people to know you can do something about it. If you really are passionate in it, you can help people who are less fortunate,” Gatton explained.

“The compassion of kids is just amazing to me,” Brown added. “If we all could have a piece of that, even as adults, it would go a lot farther. It would be a more kinder, compassionate world.”

Brown says the donation couldn’t have come at a better time. They are currently in need of toiletries for their residents and Gracie’s blessing bags were full of them.

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