10 year old gives back in her friend's honor

Giving back: not in just in the Christmas spirit, but keeping her friend's spirit

Riley Acheson smiling in front of her hard work and photo of her and Emma Davenport (Photo contributed by Whitney Acheson)

Riley Acheson smiling in front of her hard work and photo of her and Emma Davenport (Photo contributed by Whitney Acheson)

Some of the volunteers who helped Acheson complete her goal in honor of Emma Davenport (Photo contributed by Whitney Acheson)

Riley and Emma pictured here (Photo contributed by Whitney Acheson)

Many kids scrawl "Lemonade Stand" on a makeshift box or carefully deposit the loose change mom dropped on the floorboard in their piggy bank - usually this is to save up for a new bike helmet or designated for fund reserved for when the ice cream truck barrels around the corner. However, ten year old Riley Acheson put on her apron and began baking to sell cookies and cakes, not for any personal gain, but in honor of her friend Emma Davenport and simultaneously as a means to provide to the Operation Christmas Child.
    Operation Christmas Child is an annual campaign put on by the charity Samaritan's Purse which is run by evangelist Franklin Graham. Churches and schools pack up crayons, toys, toothbrushes and other assorted kid friendly products in colorful shoeboxes - and then Operation Christmas Child plays as the middle-man Santa and delivers millions of shoeboxes to children worldwide.
    "Emma and Riley were friends and this was part of her way to give back and honor Emma and Emma's birthday," said Whitney Acheson, Riley's mom. "She wanted to do a bake sale, bake cookies and cakes and a lot of other things, in an effort to raise money to fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child."
    The pair, Acheson and Davenport, had planned to join forces for this particular project due to both of their families previously participating, according to Acheson. After Davenport passed away in July 2018, Acheson didn't falter from the two's original plan to give back - instead expanded the idea to make it bigger in her friend Emma's honor.
    "We started the auction (for the baked goods) on Emma's birthday, September 22, and it took about a month, with school, to make the goods and deliver them. And then in November was when the shoeboxes are due," said Acheson.
    The pint sized good samaritan remained focused on her goal from the end of September until November, working hard to bake, deliver and get the supplies for the shoeboxes themselves. With the help of the Light In The Valley Church members, Acheson and community members filled 145 boxes to be later shipped out by Operation Christmas Child.
    "A lot of people came out to the filling party," said Acheson. "It was quite the task, but a lot of people, even people who didn't know Emma personally, came out to the support the cause and the idea. It was neat that the community came together."

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