Meet The Two Teenage Heroes Of The Lawton Food Bank
If you were to look at most youths under the age of sixteen today, the last two years of pandemic and the increasingly reclusive trend of escaping real life for online socializing has had a definite effect on Generation Alpha.
With the decline of personal mass communication and fellowship, the instinct to "look out for number one" has only intensified since the start of this decade... but some offer a glimpse at hope through the time-honored tradition that is leading by example.
The short story is two young brothers have made a hobby out of charitable work. They bake foods and set up shop a few times each month to sell. Instead of spending their profits on video games and microtransactions like most kids naturally would, these boys donate their money to local charities like the Lawton Food Bank in order to feed the less fortunate. Together they've contributed nearly $10,000.00. The longer, interesting, and relatable longer story continues below.
Meet Logan (14) and Gage (11) Harwood. Two native Lawtonian boys that have proven empathy still lives deep inside the generation that seems soulless in Call of Duty lobbies.
Like most kids of their generation, they spend quite a bit of time at Grandma and Grandpa's house throughout the year. It's the norm for most any hometown family with two working parents in the home. Since there's only so much any adult can do to offer entertainment to most kids, Grandma Harwood opted to teach these boys a thing or two about being good stewards to their fellow man.
Tell me you haven't heard this story before... Grandma decides that playing video games and living online isn't the healthiest way to live a young life, so she decides her grandbabies should start learning how to do things around the house.
I can hear my own mother in that sentiment relating to my nephews. It's like grandmas have this instinct knowing that kids don't learn what they're never been shown.
Since cooking is such a crucial skill for adulting, and benevolence towards your fellow man is such a positive trait of character, Grandma Harwood started a trend in the family of baking cupcakes and surprising local organizations with random deliveries of them.
Organizations all over Lawton-Fort Sill have received their heartfelt cupcakes... Lawton Police Department, Comanche Country Sheriff's Department, and Comanche County Courthouse staff. They also deliver cupcakes to Hearts That Care Volunteer Health Clinic, which quite literally save Grandma Harwood's life a few years ago... and they've been doing this for years until one random trip to the Lawton Food Bank changed their personal missions in life.
This is where more of the backstory emerges...
It was about four years ago that things changed for young Logan Harwood. He was ten years old, a middle child, and like most kids that age, he felt far older than his age implied.
When the family would have a nice dinner out on the town, Logan despised the idea that he had to order from the same menu his 5 and 7-year-old brothers picked from. He was ten years old and no longer a child in his own mind. I think most families have at least one kid that goes through this... so when it was time to order, Logan would plead to have an option off the regular menu.
If you've raised a kid through this phase, you know exactly where this is going...
Naturally, an average kid can't throw back a big ole plate of food like an adult. As such, time and time again Logan would end up taking more than half of his food home to rot away in a to-go container... it's a super common tale for kids that age.
Naturally, and you've probably told your kids this too, the conversation at Chili's table for five turned to "There are starving children your age," in an attempt to coerce the lad into ordering a properly-sized meal for himself, but something about that conversation sunk deep into that ten-year-old that day.
At ten years old, Logan remembered that story of hungry children and families when it came time to make a fresh batch of cupcakes for whoever was to receive them that week. He asked grandma if they could deliver a random batch of cupcakes to the deserving staff at the Lawton Food Bank. She thought it was an excellent idea.
After toiling away on a Friday night and getting all kinds of messy in the kitchen, they had enough cupcakes to make the regular rounds on Saturday, but when they walked into the Lawton Food Bank, everything changed for those two boys.
Logan's younger brother Gage happened to spot a classmate from school. His head filled with questions of how someone he plays with at recess could be among those in the area struggling to put food on the table. It hit him deep in the feels and his worry and empathy were shared by his older brother Logan... but instead of moping over the experience, the boys amazingly asked if they could do more.
What parent or grandparent wouldn't be proud of that?
Since baking was their shared collective hobby at that point, they decided that they would expand their offerings and make donation money through the time-honored tradition of a classic, American bake sale.
What started off simply with cupcakes and banana bread soon grew to include cakes, pies, and other sweet treats that were in demand from those buying from the boys. Their bake sales grew in popularity enough that they wrangled their younger brother Jackson (9) into the mix to help out.
They'll spend an entire Friday mixing, baking, and packaging their homecooked goods and then spend most of Saturday selling them at various locations around Lawton. You've likely seen them at one of Lawton's public events, or perhaps in front of a random store here in town. Their wares are so delicious they've even developed a small, humble following of supporters that know an honorable deed when they see it.
While they split their profits to also donate to Hearts That Care, they've nearly reached the $10,000.00 mark in donations to the Lawton Food Bank over the last four years. Not too shabby for a couple of selfless kids deserving the title of hero in any culture.
When I asked these boys what else they wanted to tell people here, they responded with the hard statistics to reinforce their mission. 1 in 5 people goes hungry, every single dollar provides four meals for over 700 families in Lawton.
If the story imparts as much inspiration to you as it did me, the boys will be set up this Saturday, June 11th from 10 AM thru 2 PM in front of the Homeland (CountryMart) out at 67th and Cache Road.