Violet Humble loves just about anything with glitter, sequins or the color pink. At 8 years old, she is also a fan of mythical creatures, “The Walking Dead” and Taylor Swift, whose birthday and sparkly cat-ears headband she shares.
Your typical preteen? Well, not really.
Violet has struggled with chronic immune and stomach issues as well as a heart condition since birth, according to her mother, Elizabeth Humble. But that hasn’t stopped her from volunteering her time and money, and raising funds for food and other supplies for the homeless in Spokane.
It all began about two years ago when Violet, her parents and two brothers, Griffin and Avery, were driving back to their home in Polson, Montana, from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital, where she had undergone one of at least 10 surgeries.
“We traveled from Polson to Sacred Heart Hospital on the South Hill and Violet would see the homeless people standing along the way, on street corners with cardboard signs, and she felt sorry for them,” Elizabeth Humble said.
“I wondered why it seemed like nobody was helping them,” Violet added.
Violet was about 6 then, and on the trip down the hill after one of the surgeries, her mom asked what would make her feel better.
“She said what would make her feel better was to buy this homeless man a hamburger. My husband and I had been sitting around and complaining about how life isn’t fair, and she was thinking about wanting to help someone,” Elizabeth Humble said.
Violet’s parents granted her wish. Then over the next months, that one hamburger turned into providing and handing out food for the homeless at Blessings Under the Bridge, a Spokane nonprofit that feeds the hungry and homeless every week in downtown Spokane.
Eventually Violet got involved with other nonprofits doing fundraisers and asking businesses for donations, with the help of her parents.
Over the last 20 months, Violet and her family, who now live in Spokane, have raised and donated more than $5,000 to local charities. She has sponsored 1,000 hot meals for the homeless, donated over 10,000 pounds of food, 7,000 toiletries and 120 pairs of shoes.
Elizabeth Humble said one of her daughter’s biggest goals is to inspire other kids. Violet is homeschooled, and the family also is part of a homeschool co-op; so far she has motivated more than 50 other kids to join her in volunteering for the homeless.
For hours each week – when she’s feeling up to it – Violet and her friend Adeline Huffmanparent are at Blessings Under the Bridge handing out food and hygiene supplies they’ve collected. The two girls also work on social media to engage other kids to join in the volunteer work.
Violet’s brothers also volunteer time at Blessings Under the Bridge every Wednesday. Her mother said the volunteer work has helped the whole family see beyond common misconceptions of the homeless.
Last month, Violet accepted an award for outstanding young philanthropist at the United Way’s Emerging Leaders Society’s signature luncheon. The Spokane Philanthropy Awards are given annually to celebrate the acts of compassion and philanthropy to two people in the community, as well as a corporation, a small business and a Spokane organization.
The family has also received grants and funds from the Walt Disney Company, Youth Service America and Hasbro Toys.
To Violet the idea of helping other people is simple and matter-of-fact.
“I feel like everyone needs to feel like someone loves them, and notices them, and wants to help them,” Violet said. “Everyone deserves someone who cares.”
The family recently was notified they have the go-ahead for Violet’s nonprofit called VOLT, an acronym that stands for Violet’s Outreach of Love and Togetherness. The nonprofit status will make it easier to raise funds and apply for government grants, Elizabeth Humble said.
In 2014, the Humble family moved to Spokane and since then, Elizabeth said she has become quite good at applying for grants.
“Violet has good ideas. She’s smart and she’s compassionate and she cares about the world,” Humble said. “She will be doing the planet a service. It would be a crime not to put her ideas into motion and achieve what she wants to achieve.”
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