“I was tired of watching less fortunate people struggle on the streets, asking for food, and I could do nothing to help.” Determined to change that, 11-year-old Makenna Haynes recruited her 7-year-old sister Charli, and together they hatched a plan to give Santa a run for his gift-giving money this Christmas Eve by making some extraordinary deliveries of their own.

Yesterday, the Austin, Texas based siblings spent the afternoon wrapping Christmas gifts… 50 in total. But these are no ordinary presents; they speak far louder to need, than want, and are intended for people Makenna and Charli don’t even know.

Each of their gift bags was packed with love and care, bursting with food the girls’ found in their family’s pantry: protein bars, fig bars, Chex mix, crackers and granola bars. Also carefully tucked inside are handwritten notes that say, “We hope this makes things a little better.” They intend to give the bags out to the men, women, and teens they see all too often living on the streets of their home town.

“I was tired of watching less fortunate people struggle on the streets, asking for food, and I could do nothing to help.”

As moved as we are by the Haynes girls’ inspired Christmas Eve operation, we learned that doing things like this is par for the course; it’s simply who these special young ladies are. In fact, Makenna, just barely 12 (her birthday is this Friday), frequently lends her kindness to people in need. In a phone interview, the articulate, budding philanthropist told WYSK, “I usually help feed the homeless at a shelter each Thanksgiving, but I didn’t have the opportunity this year which was very disappointing.”

Following in her big sister’s charitable footsteps, Charli’s desire to help comes from a level of compassion that far exceeds her young age. “I feel really bad for these groups of people who have no money for food or clothes or a house.” The second grader added, “I feel really sad seeing them with their backpacks and signs and no food to eat.”


Charli (left) and Makenna (right) packing their food gift bags.

With their food gift bags ready and waiting to be loaded into their sleigh (the family car), the girls plan to hand them out, one by one, on Christmas Eve. And just like Santa, they will have their own special team of drivers – mom and dad – taking them along their route in search of people in need on the streets of Austin. Their brother Tyler (age 9) will also be part of the journey, on board to help Makenna and Charli accomplish their mission of giving.

In thinking about what they are about to do tomorrow night, Makenna very confidently said, “Whenever we pass a homeless person at the stoplights, I frantically look for something to give them. Now I will be prepared!” What’s more, a lot of thought went into the type of food they will be gifting, as their goal is to provide food for the soul and body. “These bags of food will help people feel good. They will also give the people protein and have a healthy diet,” Charli very wisely pointed out.

Having hearts this big and compassion so deep this early in their lives is a clear indication that these two brave girls are well on their way to becoming Women You Should Know of tomorrow.

Brava to Makenna and Charli for reminding us what the holiday season is really all about.