Nikita Richardson
November 29, 2015 9:58 am

Sometimes, the hardest part of growing up can be realizing that you have a lot while others go without. For some people, they may go years without knowing how fortunate they are, while others learn early on that they have a lot to be grateful for.

3-year-old Patrick McClung came to his own realization early on, recently learning about homelessness in a video shared by his mom, Destinee, who explains to her son that not everyone has a warm, safe place to sleep at night. The news reduced Patrick to tears.

“It hurts my heart,” says Destinee as Patrick lays on her chest.

“Me too,” Patrick responds, his face red and puffy from crying.

For most 3-year-olds, a good night’s sleep and a new day is enough to make them happy again, but Patrick decided he wanted to do more than sleep on it. So, with his mom’s help, he started his own clothing drive in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.

Dubbed “Patrick’s Homelessness Project,” the pair placed cardboard boxes with signs explaining their project throughout the city, asking that passersby donate their cold weather clothing and other warm accoutrements to Patrick’s cause. So far, they’ve collected seven large bags of donations with more on the way.

And to show he’s truly serious about the cause, Patrick even sold his toy train to buy more clothing and has started volunteering at a soup kitchen.

“I feel a little guilty that he’s taken such a burden on himself,” Destinee McClung told KTVA Alaska. “It’s a little bit like, well, he’s 3 — I don’t want him to feel like he has to face the whole world.”

But she thinks this will be a growing experience for her son.

“I’m so proud of him,” she added. “I think a lot of us aren’t looking to help. We just live our lives, we’re just used to homeless people and all of the issues that are around us – it’s just normal.”

For those living in Alaska, Patrick and his mom are still accepting donations at Whole Family Chiropractic in Anchorage while those of us in the lower 48 can help in other ways by donating to the Salvation Army or contacting your local soup kitchen or food bank to offer a helping hand.

(Image via Twitter)