Here is a story that is the epitome of the old saying, “Big things sometimes come in small packages.” A young lad from Maryland, eight-year-old Tyler Stallings, is helping out veterans in an extraordinary way, which is making a difference. Tyler received a calling at the young age of four and has been helping veterans every day he can by handing out what he calls “Hero Bags.” Tyler and his mother, Andrea Blackstone, were on Good Morning America and explained the inspiring story.
Tyler’s mother was showing videos to him when he was four years old online about veterans. Some of his relatives were in the military, and others served the country well and are now veterans. Then, as she came across the dark side of the videos of veterans who struggle and are homeless, it saddened Tyler and led to innocent questioning.
His mother told the host of the show, “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. He asked me, ‘If they’re heroes, why should they be on the street?’”
Tyler at first wanted to build homes for the veterans, and his mother contacted Governor Larry Hogan. He started out that idea by giving Tyler $100 to start off his charity. Tyler’s mother had no idea how far that hundred dollars would take them. It ballooned into a massive mission which has been ongoing for the last four years. Tyler had joined the Maryland Center for Veteran Education and Training and at his young age, raised awareness on the struggles veterans face when they are honorably discharged. Blackstone told GMA, “It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but it turned into an all the time event.”
The dream became a reality when he started handing out the “Hero Bags” to the homeless veterans. Inside the bags, there are clothes, food, bedding, and bath products.
Tyler explained on a separate interview to GoFundMe, “When my mom said we couldn’t build homes for the veterans, I came up with an idea where we could give them Hero Bags. The bags have clothes, shoes, snacks, toiletries, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, shaving gel, hand sanitizer, all the regular things people need.”
That was four years ago, and today, Tyler’s idea has raised over $50,000 to aid veterans who are homeless. The money was raised through a donation page he has set up, and there are other ways he raises money for the veterans.
Tyler’s mother told GoFundMe, “At first, it was hard for people to take a four-year-old seriously. It took me a while to find a shelter that would let him come in and help. But when shelters like MCVET finally did, they loved having him there. It’s nice to have a child in an environment like that. We would take them care packages with toiletries and grooming products to thank people for their service, and they would take whatever they needed.” The little fella’s heart is so big, he still is wanting to do more for the veterans who served us and our country.
Tyler continued to tell GMA, “They should have the things they need because of all the good things they’ve done for our country. It makes me feel very happy and very good when they have a happy reaction.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development report from December 2018 showed there are about 553,000 people without homes in the U.S. Only 65 percent can stay in shelters or housing programs. Thirty-five percent get left out in the cold and live on the streets, or buildings which have been abandoned, or “in other places not suitable for human habitation.
Some of the reasons the National Alliance to End Homelessness gave which land people, including veterans homeless, are racial disparities, they simply cannot afford a home, mental illness, and even leaving toxic relationships. No matter the cause, there is no excuse for any veteran to have to live homelessly.
These are the people who sacrificed their time away from family and friends to defend our country, and they should be served with the same dignity. These are human beings, and liberals wonder why we are angry when illegal immigrants and prisoners get better treatment than America’s finest. Looking through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy who is innocent, even he can see this isn’t right. God Bless him, and God Bless our veterans!