Heart of Gold
Published 1:56 pm Monday, January 25, 2016
AHOSKIE – Typically, children will write letters to Santa Claus in an effort to convince the Jolly Old Elf in granting their wish to have an abundant amount of gifts to open on Christmas morning.
However, nine-year-old Carly Piland isn’t your “typical” child, but rather one with a heart of gold.
Prior to Christmas 2015, Piland did what most all kids do….write a letter to Santa. In her letter, Piland did request a set of drums and some clothes, but it was the remainder of what she wrote that sets her apart from others.
“She said in her letter that the main thing she wanted was for Santa to give toys, food and money to those that needed it,” said Carly’s mom, Tammy Piland.
With that wish in mind, Santa left Carly a $100 Food Lion gift card as part of her Christmas gifts. She was instructed to use that card to purchase whatever she wanted and dispose of those items anyway she saw fit.
“Carly decided to use the gift card to purchase food items and donate them to the Ahoskie Food Pantry,” noted Mrs. Piland.
With snow falling on Sunday, Jan. 17, Carly and her mom visited the Food Lion store in Ahoskie.
“I let her handle the shopping cart and pick out what she wanted to buy,” Tammy said. “She would select the items and call out the price to me, and I used a calculator to keep track of the money.”
While in the store, Carly was approached by two individuals who were curious of why a small child was loading up a shopping cart.
“When Carly told them her story about the letter to Santa, they were so impressed by her act of kindness that they reached in their pocket and donated $20 each,” Tammy recalled. “So, $140 later, we came out of the store with 220 items to donate to the food pantry.”
Mrs. Piland added that her daughter was a very strategic in her shopping effort.
“For example, if she purchased a box of spaghetti, she would add a jar of sauce to go with it,” Tammy explained. “She took pride in what she was doing and put an extreme amount of thought into every item she picked up. It took us about two hours to shop for the items she wanted to purchase.”
For Carly, she used simple logic when asked why she chose to ask Santa to help others.
“I believe that Christmas is about giving to others and not thinking of yourself,” said the 4th grade student who attends Ahoskie Christian School. “In my heart and in my mind I didn’t think about what I wanted for Christmas; I wanted to give to others. It made me feel happy that I was able to give this much food to those that needed it.
“One woman told me that I was doing God’s work and she was thankful for it; she said what I was doing was the sweetest thing she had ever heard,” Carly added.
When asked if she would consider repeating this effort, Carly said, “If I have the chance I would like to do this every Christmas.”
“Just the fact that she wanted to do this makes me proud,” smiled her mom. “She has a heart of gold…she’s had a giving heart since day one.
“She always put others in front of herself. We had no clue of what she had asked Santa for Christmas until we saw the letter she wrote at school. We’re very blessed to have such a loving and thoughtful daughter,” Mrs. Piland concluded.
Not only does this nine-year-old have a big heart, she also knows at such a young age of what she plans to do in life.
“I enjoy playing basketball at school and softball in the summer (Ahoskie Recreation leagues),” Carly said. “When I graduate from high school I want to go to ECU and play on the women’s softball team and study to become a teacher.”
In the meantime, she’ll have to settle for staying at home with her mom and dad (Clay) and twin sisters (2 year-olds Casey and Cally), and devise her next plan to open up her heart of gold.