Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Kayla Beshears’ Christmas wish was to feed the hungry and, as a result, 250 families had a pleasant Christmas dinner.
Kayla, daughter of Jim and Gayle Beshears, bought the turkeys with money from her savings and donated them to the Beacon of Hope Food Pantry just in time for Christmas. Along with other dinner furnishings provided by the pantry, together Kayla and Beacon of Hope Food Pantry gave less fortunate Lake Area residents the help they needed to have a bright holiday.
However, this isn’t the first time Kayla has played Santa. According to Kayla’s father, since she could talk she wanted to be able to help others in lieu of gifts, and then she also donated whatever was in her own personal savings.
“I’m very proud of her,” Jim said. “She’s been a blessing to me.”
Kayla carried out the turkeys for most of the pantry clients when they came to pick up their Christmas meal, despite her disability. Kayla was born with spinal bifida, which means her bones of the spine did not form properly around the spinal cord.
“I wasn’t able to carry all of them, but I carried a lot of the turkeys out for people and put them in their cars,” Kayla said. “If I wouldn’t have been able to do that, it wouldn’t have meant as near as much to me because it means so much more when you get to see the looks on people’s faces and to hear their stories of how much it means to them.”
The teenager learned about the Beacon of Hope Food Pantry from her parents who volunteer there as much as possible. Because the Beacon of Hope Food pantry is associated with a church (Beacon of Hope Church), Kayla felt strongly to carry out this charitable act.
“I’ve always been really strongly rooted in my faith and in my beliefs,” she said. “I did a lot of research and it turned out there are food pantries in the area that actually were connected with churches but they gave that up in order to get government funding. But, Steve and Joe (organizers of the pantry) weren’t willing to do that and I really respect that.”
Kayla is a senior at Camdenton High School and is culinary student at Lake Career and Technical Center. Besides volunteering at the pantry, she is also involved in her community as a Sunday school teacher at the Rock House Church in Linn Creek. After graduation, Kayla said she plans to enroll in classes to become a minister, and also volunteer at the pantry more often because of her recent experience.
“It definitely makes me want to volunteer more. Also, it makes me look at things differently in my life because when I get down in the dumps about the little things, it’s like ‘wow, I shouldn’t even be worried about this at all because there’s so much worse that I could be going through,’” Kayla commented. “I mean even with my disability, I have small problems with walking and other things, but really I could be so much worse and I got to see that day that there are a lot of people who are going through a lot worse than me.”
The Beacon of Hope Food Pantry presented Kayla a certificate for her donation. The cost to provide 250 turkeys came to nearly $4,000. And because of Kayla’s kindness, according to Jim, Cargill is going to donate 300 turkeys to the food pantry next Christmas.
As stated on their website, Beacon of Hope and The Food Bank of Northeast and Central Missouri have been in partnership since 2010 to provide the Food Pantry with quality food, health and household supplies to stretch the budget for those struggling in Osage Beach and surrounding communities. In December, the Beacon of Hope served 3,461 individuals from 16 counties.
For more information about how to donate food, volunteer at the food pantry, or for additional information, contact the pantry at 573-552-1309.
To make a monetary contribution, mail donations to Beacon of Hope Church, P.O. Box 1339, Osage Beach. Beacon of Hope Food Pantry is a registered 501 (C) 3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.
The Beacon of Hope Church is located at 1104 Runabout Drive in Osage Beach.