Four-year- old Austin is a superhero to the homeless in his community!
“Shower the people you love with love…things are going to work out fine if you only will” —James Taylor
After discovering there are people in the world who don’t have homes, four-year-old Austin Perine became determined to bring those men and women food, hope and most important, the message emblazoned on his shirt: “Show Love!”
Wow!” Austin Perine marveled as he and his father, TJ, watched a nature show about pandas. The Birmingham, Alabama, four-year-old couldn’t tear his eyes from the screen…until the mama bear decided it was time to leave her cubs to fend for themselves. “What will happen to them, Dad?” Austin gasped.
“For a while they’ll be homeless,” TJ explained. “But then they’ll make new homes.”
“What does homeless mean?” Austin asked curiously.
Can we buy them some food? I’ll use my money!
“It’s when you don’t have a place to live,” TJ explained.
Austin thought for a moment, then asked, “Can people be homeless, too?”
“I’m afraid so,” TJ said, expecting more questions. But Austin just grew quiet.
The next day in the car, Austin began pointing at strangers on the street, asking, “Dad, is he homeless? Is she?”
TJ knew his son was compassionate—austin was always helping his 16-year-old brother, Taylor, who has autism. He also knew Austin wouldn’t rest until he understood the problem, so TJ turned the car around and headed to a local homeless shelter.
As they pulled up, TJ and Austin saw a dozen men milling around, dressed in castoff clothing. TJ braced himself for Austin’s questions, but his son had only one: “Can we buy them some food? They look hungry. I’ll use my money!” Feeling his heart swell, TJ took Austin to a nearby Burger King, chipped in a few dollars of his own, and they bought bags of chicken sandwiches.
“Thank you, young man,” the men at the shelter beamed, as Austin happily handed out the hot sandwiches.
“I want to do that again!” Austin beamed to his mom.
So instead of weekly trips to the toy store to spend his allowance, Austin and his dad became regulars at Burger King, buying food for the men and women at the shelter.
“Don’t forget to show love,” Austin told everyone he met.
“You’re the one showing love,” one homeless man insisted. “Because of you I want to be a better person.”
As word of Austin’s good work spread, donations poured in. Even Burger King committed to giving $1,000 a month, and Austin was over the moon.
Over the past several months, Austin, wearing his “Show Love” T-shirt, red tights and a superhero cape, has doled out thousands of sandwiches at shelters as far and wide as New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Los Angeles. And he has no plans of stopping.
“Loving and helping people is the right thing to do,” Austin says. “It’s fun, and it makes them happy so they want to share love, too. And that makes me so happy!”
“I love giving people food and smiles. It’s the highlight of my life,” Austin beams.