Children helping others for birthday

KPLC's Erica Bivens with Zachary, Sarah and Trinity
KPLC's Erica Bivens with Zachary, Sarah and Trinity

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - For many children, birthdays are filled with balloons, cake and presents.

But what if your child told you they didn't want presents for their birthday? What if instead they wanted to do something selfless?

Zachary Phillips turns 10 years old this month, but instead of a regular birthday party, he had something a little different in mind.

"Instead of bringing presents to my birthday party, each person's going to bring $10," said Zachary.

About 50 of his classmates are invited, but Zachary isn't keeping that money: he's donating it.

"If we reach the goal of $400, the $400 is going to go to another country," explained Zachary.

Samaritan's Purse says if you donate $400, they can build a freshwater well in a developing country.

And of all places, Zachary says he got the idea from their ice maker: "Our ice machine broke and we had to drink water out of the tap."

Mom, Colleen Phillips, says she explained to him "how in other countries there are people without fresh running water and that was really hard for him to fathom that that happens every day."

So, in lieu of presents, Zachary and his classmates, Sarah and Trinity – who also share December birthdays -- decided to help.

Sarah Filo said she "thought it was going to be fun to do it with my friends, and I think it's cool that we're donating instead of doing presents."

Trinity Henry added, "When we're done with this project, it's going to help a lot of people, and that makes me feel good."

Zachary's mother says it's impressive that these 9-year-old's are "this selfless, especially during this time of year when it's all kind of about presents, they didn't lose the true meaning of Christmas."

"Christmas is about other people in the world that don't have as much as you, and it's time to give back," said Zachary.

And by helping to donate a freshwater well, the kids are giving a present that can be used every day.

Colleen says if anyone wants to help the kids reach their goal of $400, they can email her at:

And for the record, there will be a birthday party, just without the gifts. That's scheduled for Saturday.

For more information on Samaritan's Purse and the Freshwater wells:

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.