Tyler Stallings from Maryland was 4 years old when his mother Andrea Blackstone decided to teach him about the importance of veterans because there were several in their families. Therefore, she showed her son YouTube videos about veterans and the things they do for our country.
“He saw videos of veterans holding signs to no one responding to their cry for help and he thought this isn’t right. He didn’t like it,” Andrea told. “He asked me, ‘If they’re heroes why should they be on the street?’”
After watching one about homeless veterans, Tyler wanted to help them, so he asked his mom to go to Home Depot and buy wood and nails and build houses for veterans. But Andrea explained to him that they couldn’t afford to start building. So, Tyler began making “hero bags”.
After a while, Andrea contacted Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who gave Tyler a kid’s grant of $100. Using this grant and a GoFundMe link that Andrea shared on Facebook, Tyler started gathering clothes, hygiene products and bedding, to give homeless veterans care packages.
Recently, Tyler began working with a mattress company that gifted 250 mattresses to MCVET and a backpack company that gave him backpacks to hold all things in his “hero bags”.
For the last four years, Tyler raised over $50,000 for homeless veterans.
Andrea told that this work is helpful not only for veterans but for Tyler as well.
“[The veterans] appreciated it so much. There are a lot of smiles and thank yous involved,” she said. “Tyler learns a lot about humanity and how to bond with people and be kind. I’m so proud of him being vocal and standing up for what he believes in.”
The main reason Tyler helped homeless veterans was meaningful and valuable.
“They should have the things they need because of all the good thing they’ve done for our country,” Tyler said. “It makes me feel very happy and very good when they have a happy reaction.”
In the coming years, Tyler hopes to raise more funds for a truck in order to deliver more goods to the shelter of homeless veterans.