The Gift of the Widow’s Mite: Minnesota Third Grader Sells Pumpkins to Help the Poor

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2018) An 8-year-old boy with a heart for the poor in southeastern Minnesota is on a mission to help destitute families in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Jaxton Heibel, a third-grader in Preston, Minn., about 120 miles southeast of the Twin Cities, is turning his family's pumpkin patch into a charity project to help Food For The Poor, donating the proceeds to the charity. He raised about $200 in October after selling more than 100 pumpkins.

In late September, Jaxton was moved by a member of the charity's Speakers Bureau who visited his church and shared Food For The Poor's mission with the Christ Lutheran Church congregation. It filled Jaxton's heart with a desire to help others.

Jaxton had the perfect solution. For the second straight year, as a hobby, he was planning to sell pumpkins grown on the small farm where he lives. This year, he decided he would donate the proceeds to Food For The Poor.

"I wanted to help others less fortunate," he said. "It feels really good to do that."

Jaxton's parents, Kyle and Amanda Heibel, said the fundraising idea was their son's.

"I don't think he fully understands how wonderful it is," said Amanda Heibel. "He's definitely got a heart of gold and we couldn't be more proud."

As Thanksgiving approaches, Jaxton's parents said what their son is doing is an important reminder to everyone about being thankful for what you have and how everyone can spread happiness around and share their blessings, especially with those who go without around the holidays.

Small gifts can have a meaningful impact on the lives of the destitute poor in the countries where Food For The Poor serves. The money Jaxton raised could feed a family of four for eight months or buy school supplies for 10 children or 160 baby chicks that will grow to not only provide families a sustainable source of protein from eggs but extra income from selling the extra eggs.

Jaxton's kindness and generosity brings to mind the story of the widow's mite, whose lesson proclaims that what counts is not how much you give but how much you give of what you have. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus watched as rich people gave from their abundance as offering in the temple. But a woman in poverty came in to offer her small contribution, which was all she had and which she cheerfully gave.

"The meaning of the verse is that everyone else could afford to give but what the widow gave was a sacrifice. Everyone can give something," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood. "Families in need will benefit from Jaxton's gift from the heart. This is the principle on which our ministry was founded – the gift of the widow's mite."

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma said it's encouraging to see young people like Jaxton taking the initiative and giving back in any way possible to help transform the lives of poor families in need.

"What a kind and generous heart Jaxton has. How he used his pumpkin sales to help the very poor is a model for us all," Aloma said. "It is truly a life-preserving gift."

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054