7-year-old urges peers to help poor

December 21, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Seven-year-old Jay Westerlund is a kid with a conscience.

The Finksburg Cub Scout likes to help people who need food and clothes and wants to get other children involved.

A letter he wrote to the editor of the Carroll County edition of The Sun gives his peers ideas about how to help.

"I think kids should help the poor," he wrote. "If you're in Cub Scouts, you can talk to your leader to help out to take some clothes. On Christmas, can you give some toys and some food?"

Before he signed his name with a pink marker, he wrote, "I am in second grade. I am a kid. I am 7."

His mother suggested that he write the letter.

Jay said yesterday he did it as a "good deed" required to earn a Bobcat badge in Cub Scouts and because "I think about the poor little."

He attends Mechanicsville Elementary School and belongs to Cub Scout Den 7, Pack 150. His parents are Marjorie White and Jody Westerlund.

Jay's grandparents have encouraged him and his cousins to do volunteer projects.

"We try to show them you can make a difference," said his maternal grandmother Susan White-Bowden, also of Finksburg.

She, Jay, his brother Tommy and four cousins -- Emily, Brian, David and Alex Timchula -- visited the Lutheran mission in Baltimore recently to drop off books, coats, mittens, hats and other clothing.

Jay has helped serve meals at a Baltimore soup kitchen with his fraternal grandmother, Carol Westerlund of Harford County.

The boy just seems to enjoy helping others, his father said.

"We don't bring it up that often, but it's brewing in the back of his mind," said Mr. Westerlund.

Television images of homeless families and starving people in Somalia are powerful and stick in children's minds, said Ms. White-Bowden, an author and former Baltimore newscaster.

The children don't get depressed about the poor, "but ask why" they are poor, she said.

For Christmas, Jay said he would like a GI Joe and a Nintendo game.

But in his letter to Santa Claus, he said he would share his presents with a poor child.

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