Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine has a relative who gives to the homeless. But he’s quite a bit younger than Samaje. The one who’s giving is 4 years old.
Austin Perine is Samaje’s cousin and he’s been using a portion of his allowance to feed the homeless in Alabama. The boy learned about homelessness, interestingly enough, by watching Animal Planet. In one show, pandas were leaving their cubs and Austin asked his dad, TJ Perine, what would happen to the abandoned pandas?
“And I said, ‘Well, I guess it’s going to be homeless for a while,’ and Austin said, ‘Are people homeless?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, some of them.’ And he asked me to take him to see a homeless person,” TJ Perine told NBC 15 News.
So TJ did just that and took Austin to a homeless shelter in downtown Birmingham. Immediately the boy wanted to take action.
“He said, ‘Can we feed them?” TJ told CNN. “I didn’t expect to feed homeless people that day. But when a 4-year-old asks you, what can you say?”
And with that, Austin began his journey of feeding the homeless. With $25 of allowance in hand, given by his father, the two went to Burger King and ordered some chicken sandwiches to give away. The boy chose to do this rather than use his money to buy a toy.
What’s more, before he gives sandwiches to the hungry, Austin goes into his phone booth and throws on his superhero costume — a red and blue superhero cape with “#Showlove” on the front.
“Show love means, you care about someone no matter what they look like,” he explained to CNN.
Calling himself “President Austin,” Austin arms himself with sandwiches and a gleeful smile on his face, looking to “chase the bad guys out of school and feed the homeless.”
The boy’s heroic acts of giving have already swept through his community in Alabama, and in turn, made him a local celebrity. Burger King gave Austin $1,000 monthly allowance for a year, according to CNN. Birmingham’s mayor, Randall Woodfin, calls him “the city’s ambassador.” And the Atlanta Braves invited Austin to SunTrust Park, where he met several Braves players.
Not all heroes wear capes…but this one does!
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 20, 2018
To further help his son’s passion for giving, Austin’s father created a fundraiser on GoFundMe and it raised $67,562 in 28 days. Austin has also partnered with Firehouse Ministries, a shelter that feeds 5,000 people annually.
“It really brightens our day and warms our heart to see that little superhero cape come up the building and that sweet, sweet voice,” says Firehouse Ministries director Anne Rygiel.
Austin’s actions are a living example of Proverbs 22:9: “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.”
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