Columbia, SC (WLTX) – One Midlands teen is doing all she can to make sure every child has a gift for their birthday.
Madison Dinkins is giving back in the spirit of her mentor McKinsey Rebecca Cook who died in a car crash in 2015.
“She helped with the street children in Uganda and I thought that whenever she passed away I would continue her legacy and bring it back here to South Carolina,” Dinkins explained. “I think that she would be really happy that I picked up on it and just continued right where she left off.”
The 17-year-old Airport High School student is the creator of the Birthday Box. It is a program where she collects gifts, wraps them and then puts them in homeless shelters across the Midlands so every child has a birthday gift to open.
Dinkins does it so that kids like Nicholas Bostick at the St. Lawrence Place has a happy 11th birthday.
“Overwhelming with joy because someone you know decided to come and help my son during this time you know with just a simple birthday gift,” Bostick’s mother, Tanika Doctor said holding back tears.
“It was really exciting being able to see him open it and see him be able to get a smile on his face,” Dinkins beamed.
Dinkins hopes her mentor is smiling too.
“I know that she always wanted to do things for other people,” Dinkins said. “I get to help people and I get to put smiles on all these kids’ faces and let them know that they’re not forgotten. Somebody’s always thinking about them. I know I’m always thinking about them.”
Dinkins has given toys to more than 200 children in the last few years and has birthday boxes at four shelters across the Midlands.
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty for it deprives the soul of sense of value. Sad as it is, hundreds of children are faced with this dark reality in Uganda. Our mission at McKisney Foundation is to love, serve and restore hope to abandoned children in Uganda. And through your donation, we can change a child’s future.