PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Parties and presents are a big part of any child's birthday. But, one 11-year-old from Petal asked for something different this year.
Instead of presents, Rachel Pearson asked her friends to bring supplies she could donate to the victims of January's EF-3 tornado in Hattiesburg and Petal.
"People don't realize how much they have until they see someone that's lost everything," said Pearson. "I wanted to let them know I care and I'm praying for them."
Rachel's birthday party was full of laser tag, bumper cars and fun just days after the storm hit. She was able to collect toiletries, food and other donations for the Petal Children's Task Force.
"We were very proud of her, she's always had a compassionate and caring heart for others and this just made us more proud," said Rachel's mother, Virginia.
"We're just overwhelmed to see she's thinking about others and not just herself," said Petal Children's Task Force CEO Demaris Lee. "A lot of children at that age want their own presents, but she was thinking about other people. It's just an honor to know that they wanted to bring us supplies."
"I thought it would help them get them back on their feet," said Rachel.