Woodville boy selflessly replaces birthday gifts with food drive donations

WOODVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - If you ask most little kids what they want for their birthday, you can guess the answer. They typically would say something like dolls, toys, video games, bikes or spending money for more toys. The list could go on and on. There's one child that just wants to help other people, even on his special day.

As soon as you come in the front office at Woodville High School and walk down the halls, you'll see signs and bins everywhere. One might ask, who's Joseph? He's a 10-year-old boy, who's a little shy, with a bold birthday wish.

"I wanted to help people in need," says Joseph Powell.

Powell's one wish is to collect food for those in need. For this 5th grader, it's personal.

"Because they helped me and my Mama and we wanted to give back to them," explains Powell.

For his birthday this year, instead of toys, Powell got his family, school and town to rally behind him and make sure people have food for the holidays.

"It's been really big and Joseph's idea and his wish has been such a blessing to the Helping Hands Food Pantry," describes Donna Chambers, director of the Helping Hands Food Pantry.

Chambers says they hope to serve 45 families with items from the Joseph's One Wish Food Drive. The goal is to give those families enough food for one week and have some leftover to stock the pantry for the remaining winter months.

"It's because of his attitude and desire to have that wish granted that has really inspired a lot of people," says Chambers.

That includes Powell's teacher Chasta Breland.

"Not many kids at this age want something that is selfless like what he's asked for," says Breland.

Joseph Powell also didn't ask for $319, but WHNT NEWS 19 was happy to Pay it Forward and help make Joseph's wish come true. When asked what he was going to do with the money, Powell responded, "Donate it to the food drive."

The food drive is still going on through Wednesday, November 23rd. Donations can be taken to the pantry, First National Bank or the public library in Woodville. Joseph Powell's 11th birthday is next month. Chambers says they will give out the stuff they collected during the food drive on December 9th.