OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeven-year-old Samantha Todd could not wait to step up in front of the entire congregation at Charlotte Church of Christ and share her plan. The Charlotte youth had set a goal of raising $900 for Barry Eaton CASA for Kids to help purchase Christmas gifts this year. Only she needed some help in reaching that goal.

Samantha laid out the plan in September and by Dec. 1 the congregation had raised $1,900 for the local non-profit that serves as the advocate for children in foster care due to abuse and neglect. Samantha and her youth class at the Church had learned about CASA through Charlotte Church of Christ.

“I wanted to help the kids that need toys and stuff to do because they don’t live with their parents,” Samantha said. “I just picked $900.”

In the past, her class at church had help purchase toys for the holidays — typically around $150 worth. This year, Samantha and her classmates: JB Wiggs, Elli, Lucie and Abbie Lautzenheiser, Joey Root, Ari’Yannah Wallace, Emily Root, Isaiah Taylor and Connor Todd purchased $899 worth of toys and gift cards and donated the remainder of the funds to CASA.

“Everything we do at CASA is for children,” said John Bailey, Pastor of Charlotte Church of Christ and CASA for Kids board member. “So to have other children blessed with families and good situations thinking of other children in that way is a blessing. Samantha is an amazing little girl, reflecting very sound teaching within her home.”

Donation canisters were passed out to the entire congregation — 45 cans were returned in early December, said Rick Todd, Samantha’s grandfather, who had helped Samantha build on her idea. Of the $1,900 donated, $1,400 of it was change.

Samantha said she felt really good about being able to help other children, though her favorite part was being able to stand up and share her idea in front of the entire congregation.