Photo by Jolene Guzman
Keagan Graves, 8, sold mistletoe during the Christmas season to buy toys for children in need. Keagan's generosity is just one example of the spirit of giving that was on display in every community in Polk County during the 2017 holidays.
As of Wednesday, December 20, 2017
DALLAS — Keagan Graves took the baton from his older brother, Collin, and now he’s the adorable boy peddling mistletoe during the holiday season.
Like Collin before him, he’s raising money to buy toys for children who might not receive gifts this Christmas. His big brother started the project seven years ago at the age of 10.
“When I saw some kids who were sad, I said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll sell some mistletoe and buy you some toys,’” said Keagan, 8.
Keagan began selling handmade mistletoe bunches around town and through Facebook in early December, and raised more than $225 in his first few days.
“When I was at school, I saw somebody who was sad, and they wanted a present,” Keagan said. “I’m going to buy everybody a present.”
His ambition is as big as his heart, said Keagan’s mom, Julie Graves.
“I’m so happy. On top of being blessed with two beautiful children, they have such beautiful hearts,” Julie Graves said. “You don’t see kids these days that want to give back and I’m blessed I have two.”
She said Keagan’s generosity was on display early when he would tag along with Collin on his door-to-door sales trips.
“I wanted to give people candy,” Keagan said.
Keagan waged a friendly competition with his brother in his first year.
“In Collin’s first year, he made well over $500,” Julie Graves said. “Keagan told him he’s going to make more.”
He’s off to a good start, says older brother Collin Graves, now 17, admitting the wide-eyed Keagan might have an advantage over him if the two were to go head-to-head now.
“It’s pretty cool, honestly. I’ve gotten bigger and it’s easier for him to sell it than me,” he said. “If we were both selling it, he would sell more than me, I’m pretty sure.”
Saturday, Julie and Keagan made a trip to Toys R Us to purchase toys to donate to Salvation Army.
Between Keagan’s gift for selling the $1 bundles and his mom’s “couponing” prowess, the two hope to deliver a haul to brighten Christmas morning for children in need.
Julie and Keagan coordinated with Nicole Bats, the Salvation Army’s Polk County Social Services Representative, to find recipients for the toys.
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Monday, when mom and son dropped off two large bags of toys at the Polk County Resource Center, Marion and Polk County Salvation Army Administrator Capt. Dan Williams said the donation is incredible.
“Thank you for all your hard work,” Williams said to Keagan. “This is going to make a lot of kids happy.”
Williams said he’s impressed with Keagan’s generosity.
“It’s the spirit of Christmas that you think about others instead of yourself,” Williams said.
Julie Graves said she’s overwhelmed with the reaction her son’s mission received from the community.
“I just can’t believe the outpour of people on Facebook alone who are willing to help him,” she said. “He’s a complete stranger to most of them, and they are willing to support his cause and tell me how extraordinary of a child he is to want to do this for others.”