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Local 9-year-old asks for donations instead of gifts

More than a year has passed since then 7-year-old Lizzy Biggers saw a segment on the Disney Channel about donating birthday gifts to a cause.

It was interesting, she said, but she wasn’t sure it was for her. Fast forward several months after her eighth birthday and Lizzy couldn’t get the Disney Channel segment out of her mind. It was decided. For her ninth birthday, she was going to make a difference.

“It was the first time I had seen something like that and the first time I had thought about what I could do for someone else,” Lizzy, now 9, said. “I had no idea what would happen. I just thought it would be really good if I helped other people.”

Lizzy’s initial thought was to collect shoes for other kids in need, a lot like the project from the Disney Channel, but her mom Anne came across another idea that could help kids in their own south Charlotte community.

She received an email from Del Barnhill, an acquaintance from the family’s church, Providence Baptist Church. Barnhill, the coach of the McClintock Middle School cross-country team, was seeking extra funds for his team to help with uniforms, shoes and other expenses.

“When Lizzy came to me and started getting really serious about doing something, that email popped into my mind,” Anne Biggers said. “So I reached out to him.”

Lizzy wrote a letter and sent it out to about 40 of her family and friends, asking people, in lieu of gifts, to give money for her birthday on May 18. She was surprised to find her project was even inspiring some of her friends, like Abigail Atwater, a classmate from Charlotte Christian School, who raised $100 to donate to Lizzy’s cause.

But Lizzy was most surprised when donations exceeded her $500 goal with a total of $1,250.

“I thought I would get less than $500, but then I had three people that donated $100 each. I thought people would do about $25 or so, which would have been great, but instead, they gave a lot more,” Lizzy said. “I was blown away.”

Anne Biggers and her husband, Brant, work to instill a servant’s heart in their kids, Anne said, encouraging them to participate in volunteer events at church and school. As a kindergartener, Lizzy even asked for people to bring donations for nonprofit Birthday Blessings, now Bright Blessings, in Matthews.

While the girls haven’t been exposed to extreme needs, Lizzy’s mom and her husband want to ensure their girls gain the understanding that there are people out there who are less fortunate.

“Lizzy has a really generous spirit,” Anne Biggers said, “but we have tried to bring up opportunities where she can capitalize on that spirit. We need to share and be generous and help others when we can.”

For Lizzy, she says giving up her birthday gifts wasn’t a big deal since she has so much already. She hopes her efforts will spread and encourage other kids like herself to give, as well, or just help others in need in some way.

Now, she’s working to grow out her hair in hopes to one day donate to Locks of Love.

“What I think is, if you help other people, not only will you feel good, but you’ll make other people feel good, too, and other people might want to start to help out, too,” Lizzy said. “I felt like I had really made an impact in somebody’s life.”

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