Madison Farris had no second thoughts when she asked her parents if she could give away the $100 prize she had just won.
The family was riding home from a recent art contest awards banquet when the 9-year-old asked her parents a simple question.
“She said, ‘Mommy, Daddy, do I have to keep this money? Can I just donate it?’” Madison’s mother, Jennifer Farris said. “She said there’s nothing she wants to buy.”
Madison, a fourth-grader at Yorktown Elementary School, was one of 13 winners of the York County Beautification Committee’s annual “Beautiful York County” calendar contest this fall. Her artwork, which used yarn and featured a beach scene, was chosen for the month of July.
After receiving the go-ahead from her parents, Madison chose to donate her $100 to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office’s Shop with a Sheriff program. The sheriff’s office will bring at least 60 children to the Tabb Kmart on Dec. 9 to pick out Christmas gifts.
On Tuesday, Farris and her parents visited the York-Poquoson Courthouse to present Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs with the $100 check. Her parents matched the donation with another $100, Farris said.
“Well, I was just thinking about Christmas,” Madison said Friday afternoon while on the way to a dance rehearsal. “There are some kids out there that won’t have a Christmas at all.”
After receiving the donation, the sheriff’s office posted a “thank you” on their Facebook page.
“Kids like Madison set the example for paying it forward,” Diggs said.
Madison’s father is a military police officer with the U.S. Army and works at Fort Eustis, and her mother is a certified nurse midwife. The family has always supported military and law enforcement.
The Farrises are from Kentucky and have moved all over the country, but decided to call York County home about three and a half years ago, Farris said. Madison also has a 13-year-old sister.
Helping others comes naturally to Madison.
“Her dad and I were both raised learning to give back, and so we’ve always been the same way,” Farris said.
No matter where the family has moved, they have always given back to their community in one way or another. Madison and her sister were both born premature, so the family has also donated to the March of Dimes in the past.
Since the sheriff’s office posted the “thank you” and a photo of Madison on Facebook, the post has received over 200 likes.
Madison said her friends and family had also heard about her donation.
“She told me she was going viral,” Farris said, laughing.
Friday morning, Madison’s art teacher approached her father as he dropped her off at school, telling him she was proud of the 9-year-old’s selflessness.
Madison said if she could choose the gifts children would receive with her donated money, she would pick a race car track for a boy or 20 Barbie dolls for a boy.
“I’m happy and excited that I donated my money,” Madison said.