When pink flamingos appear on local lawns, the neighbors of Anna, Grace, and Abby Buss know that the girls are collecting food for the poor. They thought of the idea when their family took part in a dinner sponsored by their church. At that dinner, members of the church shared a meal with homeless families from a nearby town.
“We saw people who didn’t have enough to eat or a place to live, and we felt bad,” says Anna. The sisters, ages nine, four, and two at the time, decided to collect food for an area food bank.
“We couldn’t just knock on doors and say, ‘Give us food,’” recalls Anna. “We needed something to attract people’s attention.” The girls brainstormed ideas and came up with . . . pink flamingos!
An Idea Takes Flight
The girls bought two pink flamingos. “We attached a letter to each flamingo,” says Anna. “The letter explained that we were collecting food for a food pantry.” People willing to donate were asked to write down their name and address and then pass the flamingo on to someone else. After two weeks, the last person to sign up was asked to return the flamingo to the girls’ home.
The girls placed the flamingos in friends’ yards and waited to see what would happen. Over the next two weeks, the colorful flamingos traveled all over town. When the birds returned to the Buss household, more than 70 families had signed up to donate food.
That weekend, the Buss family drove to the houses on the list. They came home with their car filled with boxes and cans. They had collected more than 500 pounds of food and $200 in cash, which they delivered to the food bank.
“We were amazed at how generous people were,” says Anna.
The next year, six flamingos appeared in yards near the Buss family home. Again, neighbors donated generously to the food bank.
The girls plan on putting out flamingos every year. They have also started other projects to raise money for the food bank. “Helping people makes us feel good,” says Abby.
Highlights is proud to know these Gallant Kids.
Image Credit: Kahra F. Buss