The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army

Children Sacrifice Birthday to Give to Salvation Army Project

Two children in the 3rd Grade STEM program at Cleveland Court Elementary School presented a $310 check to help build The George W. Jenkins Community of Hope on Sept. 27 to Major Connie Morris with The Salvation Army.

Grandin Cox and Sophia Dial have not only been in the STEM program together since Kindergarten they also share a birthday. For their ninth birthdays, the two families decided to host a joint birthday party so that all of the classmates could attend.


There are 18 children in the class and Sophia and Grandin’s parents thought it might be a bit much to ask their classmates to bring two gifts. Knowing that both children are blessed and would receive gifts from family, the parents asked the children to consider asking their peers to bring a donation for a charity in lieu of gifts.

Both children were a little hesitant at first, in true typical 9 year old fashion. What child willingly wants to give up presents and a celebration all about themselves? Not many. But as conversations ensued in both households, the children understood more about the meaning of giving, how important it is to help others, and what a difference this could make for someone else. The exciting thing is that Grandin’s and Sophia’s parents knew that the same conversation would be happening at least once in each of the households for all of those children invited to the party.

Of course both kids talked about the pros and cons, but knew in their hearts that they truly did not need all of those gifts and the money would go to help children in different circumstances. So the chatter among the classmates began, it was a joy to see and hear the children talk about the party and what charity might benefit from everyone’s gift.

In the end about 16 children from the class participated along with some family and friends, raising a total of $310 at the party. Grandin and Sophia decided to donate to a local project that helps homeless children and their families at The Salvation Army.

Emily Cox, Grandin’s mother, shared, “The parents were amazed at how enthusiastically all of the children donated. My husband and I, and I think I can speak for Sophia’s parents as well, try our best to teach empathy and selflessness. Both Grandin and Sophia have huge hearts and I am very proud of both of them for giving up gifts for themselves so that they could give back to others.”

The Salvation Army is thankful that parents are taking the time to teach their children the value of giving to others. Their hope is that the spirit of giving in these children continues to grow. The George W. Jenkins Community of Hope is a great example of how the people of Polk County are coming together to help families and future generations lead independent and productive lives.


This Salvation Army project is named for George Jenkins, the founder of Publix Super Markets, a man who continues to inspire the philanthropic spirit in this community. During his lifetime, Mr. Jenkins was a leader in charitable giving in our community and it is fitting that this project would inspire our young people, the next generation, to continue with that commitment by giving back to the community. This kind of generosity from a new generation is a huge part of the community spirit and compassion that Mr. Jenkins modeled in his family, his business, and in his community.

To visit or tour the site please contact 863-940-2868 ext. 24 or 863-559-2879, or visit


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