When the holidays are approaching, most teenagers are brainstorming on what they want for Christmas. The newest tech gadget, money for new clothes or those perfect new shoes are usually at the top of most of their lists. That's not the case with Camdenton senior Kayla Beshears.
"Ever since I can remember, when Christmastime came around I would see people were struggling financially. It made me want to help," Beshears said.
Apparently giving has always been something Kayla has enjoyed doing. "She never wanted toys for Christmas. She always wanted to do something," proud dad, Jim Beshears said.
Since Kayla is a senior, she wanted to think of a project that would make an impact in her community. "Being my senior year, I wanted to do something big," she said. And something big was exactly what she did.
Kayla donated almost $4,000 worth of turkeys to families in need this holiday season. 250 families benefited from her donation.
Out of all the food pantries in the area, Kayla chose to donate through the Beacon of Hope Food Pantry. The food pantry is a part of Beacon of Hope Ministries. According to Kayla, since the food pantry is affiliated with a church, "It gives them more opportunity to tell them [clients, residents] about God."
"They help with physical and spiritual needs," Kayla said of the Beacon of Hope.
What Kayla did this past holiday season was truly self-less. What makes her story even more unique is that Kayla was born with a disability.
When doctors told Kayla's parents that she had spina bifida while in the womb, they recommended aborting the baby. Jim was adamant that would not happen.
Doctors even said that she would never walk.
Today, Kayla is an active seventeen-year-old girl who can walk freely by herself and even carry a turkey, something that seventeen years ago seemed impossible.
"I carried a lot of the turkeys out to people," she said.
For Jim, watching his less than 100 pound daughter carry 15 to 17 pound turkeys out to families was a memorable moment. He has watched his daughter work hard, struggle and succeed through out her lifetime so far.
"God sent her to me," he said.
Even though some may see what Kayla did as heroic, providing food for so many needy families, she would choose not to receive the praise.
"I don't really want it to be about me. I want it to be about the food pantry," she said.
Kayla and her family feels like no matter what organization it benefits, the important part is donating to those in need.
Page 2 of 2 - Due to her volunteer work and donation to Beacon of Hope Food Pantry, Kayla was chosen as Camdenton High School's student of the month for Febraury 2013. Elks Lodge #2705 picks two students per month based on teacher recommendations.
Kayla will graduate in May and plans to continue her education in pursuit of becoming a minister.
Beacon of Hope Food Pantry is open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The pantry partners with the Food Bank of Northeast and Central Missouri to provide food to residents in various counties. The food pantry is ran by Steve and Jo McQueen. For more information regarding The Beacon of Hope Food Pantry, contact 573-552-1309.