Madison family teaches the importance of giving

Instead of receiving presents for his birthday, a Madison boy asked for donations to benefit a local food pantry.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 10:40 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Madison family teaches their kids to give back to the community not just during the holidays, but on a day when they normally receive presents.

Birthday celebrations look a little different in the Schmelz/Melsen household. Parents Kurt Schmelz and Sarah Melsen let their kids pick a charity to donate to on their birthdays.

“Everyone likes getting gifts for the holidays and for their birthdays. But we also would like to instill in them and teach them that it can be just as rewarding and exciting to give gifts as well,” Schmelz said.

Lucas' birthday donation
Lucas' birthday donation(WMTV/Camberyn Kelley)

Opening the door on a new perspective for their children during 4-year-old Lucas’ birthday party.

“We just had told people that with gifts we’d be accepting donations for a given charity,” Melsen said.

Director of Marketing and Communications Kris Tazelaar says all of their donations went to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin where Lucas brought in 37 pounds of non-perishables.

“It’s never about how much you give it’s about the fact that you take that initiative to give back, Tazelaar said.

The needs of others are not just seasonal.

“You know the other thing you know that we have to remember is also that hunger exists throughout the whole year it’s not just at Thanksgiving it’s not just at Christmas. It is twenty-four seven, 365.”

The family says they still plan to donate again for the Thanksgiving holiday with the help of their community.

“It’s going to be a tupperware bin out on our front steps and a neighborhood Facebook post,” Melsen said.

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