PIERCE — Meredith Krienert’s smile beams from behind a table at the Lied Pierce Public Library.
A spread of goodies — frosted sugar cookies, brownies and Rice Krispie treats — stretch out in front of her, along with the list of prices for each item on her miniature bake sale.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the 10-year-old daughter of Adam and Kelsi Krienert of Pierce was trying to raise enough money to buy livestock for a little girl her age in a foreign country.
Meredith was about $30 away from the $110 goal that would allow her to purchase a goat and two chickens for the Ethiopian child she sponsors through World Vision International. If she exceeds her goal, Meredith plans on buying Hannah — the sponsored child whose last name she can’t pronounce — a soccer ball, too.
“They’re really thankful for soccer balls,” Meredith said of the children in Hannah’s community. “That’s what they like to do.”
Throughout the fall, the fourth grader spent her Saturdays selling “Meredith’s Munchies” at her brothers’ soccer games to raise money for the child she sponsors. As the soccer season ended and the winter weather moved in, Meredith asked Pierce librarian Dawn Tucker if she could host a mini bake sale there.
Her expression puzzles when asked why she likes to help people she’s never met, and her empathy for others radiates in her reply: “How do you answer that?”
“I’m really proud of her,” said her mother, Kelsi, who supports her child’s initiative and desire to give.
Meredith said she learned about the children in need through her mother, who in turn had learned about the World Vision organization while attending a Casting Crowns concert when Meredith was a baby.
“They were encouraging people to sponsor a child, so we did, and that was about the time Meredith was born,” Kelsi Krienert said. “The child we had (sponsored) was about her age, and she was a girl, so I think there was a connection.”
Meredith said when her mom told her about the child her parents sponsored, she wanted to do her part, as well.
“I felt like if I were a kid like that in a place like that, I’d really want somebody to be there for me, too,” she said.
Kelsi said she spoke with her daughter last year about how something as simple as a goat and two chickens can provide a life-altering change for a child living in absolute poverty like Hannah.
“That’s why she went for the livestock first,” Kelsi said.
Hannah is not the first child Meredith has “adopted.” Meredith also took the lead in helping phase a Rwandan child, named Beatrice, out of the system by meeting her care goals through the same organization.
In Beatrice’s case, Meredith decorated canvas bags purchased from Hobby Lobby and resold them to raise money for goats, chickens and ducks.
“We sold them for Christmas gifts and birthday gifts or just for a bag to take somewhere,” she said.
Her brothers, Macksen and Maverick, get involved, as well. They helped bake items for last weekend’s bake sale.
Meredith’s eyes light up when talking about finding other opportunities to give, as well. She donated a few of the canvas bags to her church; they were filled with books and items to keep children busy during services. She also expressed excitement about the possibility of “adopting” yet another overseas child for the holidays through the Operation Christmas Child program.
While Meredith’s mother said she knows the attitude she and her husband have has influence their daughter’s efforts, she refuses to take credit for Meredith’s drive to help others.
“I think she just recognizes the value of every person,” Kelsi said of her daughter. “She recognizes God made every person, and every person is valuable.”