MARSHALL - The group of laughing, rambunctious boys had come in from playing in the yard to crowd around a stack of presents. It looked like any other birthday party, but this gathering was different - the gifts were donations the boys had brought for kids they might not even know.
"It's because not all kids get presents, and we wanted to do something for all those kids," Hudson Dieken said.
Hudson was celebrating his eighth birthday on Friday, and as part of the occasion, he and his friends were giving toys to Lyon County Heart to Heart. Every December, the Heart to Heart organization gives gifts and holiday meal packages to area families in need.
Photo by Deb Gau
A group of 11 local boys, including from left to right, Dylan Haney, Aidan Mattison, Dawson Chappuis, Zachary Leibfried, Joshua Leibfried, Tyler Berg, Hudson Dieken and Preston Grosklags gathered around while Ben Alcorn told them about Lyon County Heart to Heart. The boys were donating presents to the organization, which gives holiday gifts and meals to families in need.
Hudson said he had gotten the idea to donate gifts to Heart to Heart from one of his friends, who had done the same thing.
"That was pretty much the first time I heard about it," he said.
His parents, Shawn and Melissa Dieken of Marshall, thought it sounded like a good idea.
"We just thought it would be a nice way to help out," Melissa Dieken said.
Ben Alcorn, of Lyon County Heart to Heart, said it was a positive thing that even kids were among the people and organizations coming together to help others.
"It's always nice to hear that," Alcorn said. "It's amazing how well-received the Heart to Heart message is."
The boys proved Alcorn's point when he thanked them for the donation and told them more about where the toys would go.
"It's for people who don't have presents," the boys said.
"We're going to put all the presents on those tables right there," Alcorn said, showing the group a video of Heart to Heart's annual gift-wrapping marathon at the Marshall National Guard Armory. "And it's not just presents. There's food, too."
Would other kids decide to help with Heart to Heart in the future?
"Maybe. I don't know the answer for that," Hudson Dieken said. But it would be a good thing if they did, he said.
Alcorn said there's still plenty of time for members of the public to contribute to Heart to Heart this year. More information can be found online at www.lyoncountyhearttoheart.com. Alcorn also encouraged people to "like" Lyon County Heart to Heart on Facebook.