When ShaDiamon Jordan’s eyes recently fell on a homeless family, she didn’t look away. Instead, the 11-year-old asked herself what she could do.
“I wanted to help them and give them something to eat,” she said. “I started crying because it touched me thinking about the homeless people.”
The fifth-grader at Graham Barden Elementary School in Havelock wrote a note and passed it to her pastor, the Rev. Robert Little Jr., at Piney Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“On that note she indicated that she only wanted a couple of gifts for Christmas and one of them was to help the homeless and that’s how it started,” Little said. “The first Sunday in December, I brought her up front and made an appeal to the congregation.”
They called it ShaDiamon’s Crusade, and by Christmas, they had raised $500 to purchase nonperishable food to donate to the Havelock-Cherry Point Ministerial Association’s food pantry in Havelock.
On Friday, ShaDiamon, her sister Shakira, mother Lakesha Jordan, and grandparents Julia and Carl Kearney joined Little and his wife Glenda for a stroll down the aisles of Walmart in Havelock to purchase the goods.
“I was overwhelmed. I was completely amazed that she felt this way. It brought tears to my eyes,” Lakesha Jordan said. “I’m glad that she has a heart to give and wants to help others.”
ShaDiamon and her sister are both honor roll students at Barden.
“It’s very nice that she is thinking about others rather than thinking about herself,” said her grandmother. ”She’s always been that way.”
Little said that ShaDiamon is a role model for other young people.
“Christmas has become so commercialized,” Little said. “From the church perspective, many times, we forget the reason for the season. We’re becoming more selfish. We’re becoming a selfish generation, and to have a child to come forth and to say that her priority is to help someone else, to me, that was a great moral thing to do and spiritually, it is what we’re all called to do and that is to help one another. If the children and their parents would stop being so selfish, this would be a much greater world we are living in.”
ShaDiamon knew what she wanted to do and knew she would need help.
“She understood that she couldn’t do it by herself, and she didn’t have a problem going and finding help instead of sitting back and doing nothing,” Little said. “The other thing is she had enough faith to take that step. So many times people have good intentions or they have great ideas, but they never bring them forward.
“To me, she just took the proper steps. She had an idea. It was from the heart. She didn’t hesitate. She had faith enough that her idea had merit and that someone would help her achieve her goal. So many dreams don’t get answered because so many people don’t step up.”
ShaDiamon said she wants to be able to help people when she grows up.
“Her main thing is she wants to be a pediatrician, but she wants to be a chef,” her mother said. “She plans one day to open up a building or a home so that she can have a place for the homeless people to stay who are less fortunate. She wants to cook for them.”
Little, who leads a congregation of nearly 300, said that the church plans to make ShaDiamon’s Crusade an annual event with a goal next year to raise twice as much money as was raised this year.