AHOSKIE – Carly Piland’s birth certificate may indeed denote that she has been on this earth for only 10 years, but this young lady has the heart and soul of someone five times her age.
For the second straight year, the daughter of Clay and Tammy Piland of Ahoskie asked Santa for a special gift to be included among the items he delivered this past December from the North Pole.
That special request was a $150 gift card from Food Lion. No, she wasn’t planning to fill her grocery cart with candy, ice cream, and other such treats that all children enjoy. Rather, her purchases were for those less fortunate.
“She asked Santa for the same thing this past year, a gift card so she could purchase items to donate to the Ahoskie Food Pantry,” said Tammy Piland. “That just fills my heart with pride, knowing she has such a big heart to help others.”
This year, Carly’s grandparents (Tammy’s parents – Brenda and Sherwood Overton) kicked in an additional $50 in cash for her shopping spree.
With $200 in hand, mother and daughter went to the Ahoskie Food Lion on the Sunday before Martin Luther King’s birthday to perform what has become an annual tradition.
“Carly is also a smart shopper,” bragged Tammy. “She saved up a few coupons and was able to purchase 276 items with the money she had. She also did her homework before the shopping trip, making a list to be sure she matched items that needed to go together, like purchasing jars of spaghetti sauce for every box of pasta.”
After checking out the items, the cash register receipt as long as Carly is in height.
The mother and daughter then met Bill Arrington at the Ahoskie Food Pantry that same afternoon where the items purchased by Carly were carefully placed on the Food Pantry shelves.
“Mr. Arrington was so kind as to show us a behind-the-scenes look at how the Food Pantry operates,” Tammy noted. “That included information on their Backpack Ministry, where meals are provided for the weekends for local children who basically have no other meal options when they’re not in school.”
Mrs. Piland said her daughter has a heart of gold.
“Carly is only 10, but she has the mentality of an adult when it comes to helping around our house as well as helping others,” she stressed. “She always thinks of others before she thinks of herself.
“The food pantry is always at her heart. She likes putting herself out there and helping people. She realizes there are those in need, those who are hungry,” added Mrs. Piland.
For her part, Carly – a fifth grader at Ahoskie Christian School where she says science and history are her favorite subjects – admits that she wants a gift card every Christmas so she can continue the tradition of helping others.
“I plan on doing this every Christmas,” said Carly. “I look around and see that I already have so much stuff, and then I know there are others who can’t afford to buy food. That’s the reason I want to continue to do this as there are always people who need help.”
Carly added that she is planning to volunteer at the Ahoskie Food Pantry this summer.
As for her future, this inspiring young lady plans to attend East Carolina University after graduating from high school where she want to study to become a schoolteacher.
Until then, expect to see Carly either shopping in Food Lion for those in need, playing softball and volleyball, and helping mom and dad around the house, to include caring for her three-year-old twin sisters, Casey and Cally.