Poteau Primary Students Donating Money For Christmas Gifts

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

POTEAU (KFSM) -- Two second-graders at Poteau Primary School are giving their own money to the school this holiday season, to make sure their classmates have Christmas gifts.

Andy Barnhart recently turned eight years old, and his uncle gave him some birthday money.

“It was $40, and I knew exactly what to do with it,” Barnhart said.

He gave it to his teacher with a letter, asking her to help find someone who needs something special for Christmas.

“I gave it to her in an envelope, I gave her a hug and I just left,” Andy said. “I heard her opening it when I was leaving.”

He said a homeless man he saw in Oklahoma City a year ago has been on his mind, and it has inspired the gift.

“The guy was trying to get money, and it was what he was trying to do," his dad, Bill Barnhart, said. "And it stuck with him.”

Andy isn't the only one wanting to help his classmates.

Kainan Riley, another second-grader, decided to give $200 of his own money to the school to be used for Christmas presents.

"I’ve been saving up money since I was about five,” Kainan said.

There is a reason behind his decision to give, too.

"Ever since my ‘Me-me’ passed away," Kainan said, talking about his great-grandmother, "I’ve been trying to help and make sure people can be happy for as long as they can live.”

He said he saved $1,000 by the time he was seven, and has decided to split it up and donate it in different ways.

“There was something about that time that just he really started caring about other people, and other people's feelings,” Kainan’s dad, Tony, said.

Kainan used some of his money to buy food and donate it to the Ronald McDonald House.

Both families said this isn't about how much the boys are giving, but about giving when possible.

“It doesn't matter how much -- you can spend as much money as you can, and it will help a lot,” Kainan said.