BY REBECCA HOEFFNER
In many ways, Sebastian is a typical 6-year-old. He smiles and lowers his chin bashfully when talking to a stranger. He giggles and gets squirmy when he sits in his mother's lap.
But in another way, he is not a typical 6-year-old.
For his sixth birthday party, he asked his friends to bring cereal and juice to donate to the St. Paul food pantry.
Sharlyn Cannady, executive director of St. Paul, said that Sebastian and his parents delivered 80 boxes of cereal and 19 boxes of juice.
A friend who was unable to attend the party later gave Sebastian $70 for his birthday. Sebastian wanted to buy more cereal and juice. He and his parents were loading up the cart when the manager at the Brookshires Grocery Store on Rice Road noticed what they were doing. When they explained, he gave them $100 more for the project.
"We don't know how much he brought with that second donation, because as soon as he got here, he started stocking the shelves." Mrs. Cannady said with a laugh.
This is the third year that Sebastian has donated his birthday — for his fourth birthday, he donated to Caldwell Zoo. For his fifth, to the Smith County Humane Society no-kill animal shelter.
Originally, his parents came up with the idea to keep from getting too many toys in their small living space. Now, they are proud of how their son goes the extra mile to give back to the community.
"We try to raise them (Sebastian and his brother, Baylen, who is 3) with this idea to give back to others," Christine Raney, the boys' mother, said.
Officials at St. Paul said Sebastian's donation is unusual.
"We've had kids that donate, but not like this," Mrs. Cannady said. "He could teach everybody."
Sebastian probably doesn't think of himself as a "role model for adults," like Mitzie Avera, development director at St. Paul, said that he is. When he and his parents were being interviewed, he was really more interested in a cut on his finger.
This is probably how Sebastian's logic worked when he thought about giving his birthday money: I like cereal and juice. All kids should have cereal and juice. I want to give some cereal and juice to other kids.
For a 6-year-old, that's probably all the thought generosity requires.
As we walked out of the interview, I asked Sebastian another question.
"Hey Sebastian, people might read this and decide to deliver food too, that would be pretty cool, huh?"
He just nodded and smiled his shy 6-year-old smile.