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Big giving comes in all sizes: Whidbey boy exemplifies holiday spirit

By BEN WATANABE
South Whidbey Record Langley, Clinton, sports, South Whidbey Fire/EMS
December 26, 2013 · Updated 11:59 AM
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Weston John Dill, 4, displays some of his jackets, one of which was accidentally given away when he donated 37 coats to the Everett Gospel Mission earlier this month. The South Whidbey Co-Op Preschool student gave jackets, scarves and gloves to the shelter for children and adults, which he collected on South Whidbey and from his family. / Ben Watanabe / The Record

Jennyrose Dill photo | Weston John Dill, right, and his sister Sawyer sit with a pile of jackets, gloves and caps which the 4-year-old South Whidbey boy recently donated to the Everett Gospel Mission.

Weston John Dill bounces around, fidgets, laughs, speaks loudly and does all the other things one would expect from an antsy 4-year-old boy.

Except he is no ordinary 4-year-old boy. The South Whidbey resident recently spent one month collecting jackets, gloves, scarves and caps for homeless children and women at the Everett Gospel Mission.

He delivered the donations to the shelter in person and with a bit of fanfare, which at first made him shy, said mom Jennyrose Dill. It didn’t last long. Weston John quickly made friends with the same children he worked to help keep warm this winter. He let them choose their items out of four contractor bags full of clothing, though he mentioned that his jacket was mixed into the pile and he later offered to trade the boy a different coat to get his back.

“I wanted to let them pick out (their own clothes),” he said. “They started jumping up and down.”

Weston John’s ambitious project began with a question to his mother: What happens to children when their parents lose their home?

“He found out about children who are homeless and said, ‘Mommy, what can we do?’ ” Jennyrose Dill said.

Rather than let the moment slip by, she and husband Josh Dill decided to guide him in collecting clothes. Weston John told his classmates at the South Whidbey Co-Op Preschool, his parents wrote posts about the jacket drive on Facebook and a notice was sent to Drewslist.

Those requests, plus a little help from his family, generated 37 children’s jackets, 34 jackets for teenagers and adults, 50 scarves and 35 pairs of gloves. Not bad for a 4-year-old who was more interested in making sure his hair was still molded into a mohawk than chatting with a reporter about his Good Samaritan deed.

The Everett Gospel Mission serves about 35 children, and each one received a jacket, a pair of gloves, and a scarf from Weston John’s donation. He said his favorite part of the experience, other than the ferry ride, was seeing a child playing at the shelter.

The boy’s good deeds are likely to continue next year. Until then, his mom said they plan to adopt one of the rooms at the shelter, which are for families that are homeless, and re-paint it. Come next winter, Weston John already has an idea how he can be of further help.

“Right when we left, he said, ‘I think we should get socks next,’ ” Jennyrose Dill said.

 

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