AUSTIN (KXAN) — When 11-year-old Kyler Cox was scanning through a Christmas catalog from Operation Mobilization (OM), a non-profit ministry organization, something caught his eye. It was something he could purchase, but it wasn’t anything that would go under his Christmas tree.
Cox saw that he could buy a goat for a family in Africa for $56. His mom says she knows her son has a big heart but she never imagined he’d give his birthday money away.
“I just had spare money and because I’m never going to use all of it, I saw I can give it to a kid in Africa,” Cox said.
“I’m ashamed to say, I was like it’s his birthday money, I was like come on he just got it,” Christy Catalano, Cox’s mom said. But his family found Cox’s young heart was much bigger than the simple idea of buying something for himself.
“It makes me so happy,” Cox said, holding back tears. “It was amazing because [I saw] how one goat could do that much help.”
For many of the families in need, the donated goats can mean food and money to help buy materials to build homes, trade and even fur. The goats produce milk and meat for food, manure for fertilizing crops, and they reproduce goats to help populate the goat ministry.
Cox dreams of one day visiting the African village where he bought his goat, but for now, he’s virtually visiting through Skype with a missionary from the village.
He says he’s proud to give back to children in need, just like his parents gave him help when he was adopted through the foster system at just 4 weeks old.
“He’s a blessing to his friends and his family,” Terry Cox, Kyler’s father said.
According to OM USA, the goat program helps most in villages around Malawi in southeast Africa. As many as 85 percent of the children in the area are orphaned and do not go to school.
Many families struggle to meet the needs of their own families as well as the needs of the orphans.
To help extended families with the needs orphans, OM works to provide a goat to each family represented in the OM Christian school.