A simple act of kindness from one 6-year-old girl inspired a chain reaction of giving in her town.
Donna and Bob McKenzie are known in the Livermore community for their work with the homeless.
This time of year they spend most nights volunteering at the Livermore Homeless Refuge.
The day before Thanksgiving, Donna said she was working in the driveway when a family pulled up and a 6-year-old girl named Emma offered her a piggy bank filled with money for the homeless.
"She said, 'Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have a bed to sleep in with the covers and I know the homeless don't have it,'" Donna McKenzie said. "'Tomorrow I will have turkey and I want them to have it.'"
Emma had once seen a homeless man on the street and asked her parents about him and was then inspired to give.
Donna and Emma counted the pennies and nickels, a total of $6.12.
"I said, 'OK, why don't I give you half back,' and she pursed her lips and shook her head," Donna McKenzie said.
The story made the church newsletter and local paper.
"We started getting phone calls, help in some way," said Sandra Chesterman, director of operations for the Livermore Homeless Refuge shelter.
About $1,800 came in, including $1,000 from an anonymous donor. That helped get rooms at Motel 6 on Christmas Eve for 20 people.
"It was like winning the lottery for these guys," said Donna McKenzie. "I think we can all take something from this little girl because everyone can't do everything but everyone can do something."
Donna McKenzie said she never got Emma's last name and has no idea how to contact her parents, but she hopes to soon so she can tell them how much has come from Emma's $6.12.
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