‘When you are blessed, be a blessing’

Four-year-old philanthropist celebrates birthday with Curt’s Closet clothing drive

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James Leonardi with his treasure trove of gifts for Curt’s Closet. (Photo courtesy of Mandy Leonardi)

CULLMAN, Ala. – True philanthropy knows no limits, in generosity and, apparently, even in age. James Leonardi recently sponsored a clothing drive for Curt’s Closet, as many others have done, but something about his drive is important to note: he asked for people to donate the items instead of giving him presents for his fourth birthday.

Curt’s Closet founder Ashley Wilson, who has seen plenty of demonstrations of generosity, was still impressed.

“My heart was so full when I saw the generosity and thoughtfulness of this precious child,” said Wilson. “We live in such a ‘give me, give me’ world, when we are called to give. This child is being taught the true joys in life. It truly does the soul great to give rather than receive.”

Proud mother Mandy Leonardi talked about her son’s birthday choice:

“It truly is remarkable to see what started as a small idea to give back a little in just celebrating life and to be ever so thankful for all we do have. We wanted our boys to understand just how blessed we are, and some basic needs that we normally take for granted, some children do not have. We have really pushed the idea and quote, ‘When you are blessed, be a blessing.’ We wanted them to see the joy of giving and doing for others. 

“It has truly been a life change for me to see our sons, especially at such young ages — 4, 5 and 6 — use their moments, their birthday, to share and just use it as an opportunity to bring family and friends together for a united cause to benefit someone else, someone they will never meet, and affect a life in ways they will never fathom. 

“Our youngest, pictured in the photo, James, turned 4, and to see the excitement and joy on his face that he was able to collect items for Curt’s Closet is priceless; that he told us, he was big now and wanted to carry them all in by himself. He is so proud of what he accomplished and really does not know the depth of what it can do for someone else. It is life-changing for an adult to watch God’s grace move in children, because something so simple, most of us take for granted, is such a big deal to others.”

For more on Curt’s Closet, visit https://www.facebook.com/cw20curtscloset.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com