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Michigan boy asks for donations to food drive rather than birthday gifts

5-year-old William had a cake and a party, but instead of getting presents, he decided to give back instead.

LOWELL, Mich. — A Lowell boy chose to give back instead of getting gifts for his 5th birthday. William "Weasel" Newsted spends his days playing with friends and looking after his families chickens, dogs and cats. When his mom asked about feeding hungry people, Weasel had no hesitation.

"I asked him would you be okay instead of getting presents, your friends brought you food for the food fight for Lowell," said Stacey Newsted, William's mom. "He said mom that’s a great idea."

When the invitations went out, they had the time and place for the party, and a special note on the back reading "Please no gifts! Instead we ask for 1 canned of boxed item for Lowell's Food Fight."

The food fight is a food drive and fundraiser that's been running for 12 years. It benefits Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM), helping to feed the hungry around Lowell, as well as provide clothing and resources through the organization. Businesses and residents donate items as a competition between the town's north and south side's to see who can collect more. After 12 years, the ministry website has a scoreboard of 6-6. 

"I hope that he sees this some day," said Aric Newsted, William's dad. "Obviously he won't remember it at this age, but it’s a building block in our society."

On the day of his party, Weasel's friends brought enough food to fill a whole box and then some. After the party, the Newsted's packed up the car and headed downtown to drop off the birthday gifts. 

"The cutest thing, I said to him, good job!" said Dionna Oubier, owner of Showboat Spirits and Fine Wine in Lowell. "He just was not having it, he didn’t want any accolades, no recognition you could tell he was just doing it out of pure love."

It's the first year the party store has participated in the Food Fight as a collection/drop-off location. Oubier says they were excited to take part for the community, but seeing Weasel bring in a box he could fit in was the icing on the cake.

"It's something that just sparks inspiration, hope and goodness and joy," She said. "it’s going to inspire people."

His parents say Weasel hasn't complained about not getting gifts once. He does, however, have his eye on next years wish list, which has one item so far - a helicopter Lego set. 

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