© Submitted photo
William McPhail brings gifts to the Santa's Angels drop-off centre at Smitty's Family Restaurant in Charlottetown. He is a Grade 2 student at West Kent School in Charlottetown.
Like many children, William McPhail likes to celebrate his birthday.
He enjoys the excitement of opening gifts, blowing out birthday candles and playing games and having fun with friends at his party.
But, when his family asked him what he wanted to do for his seventh birthday this year they were surprised when he informed them that, besides a party, he wanted to donate his gifts to Santa's Angels.
These volunteers organize, fundraise and set out on Christmas morning, dressed up like Santa and his elves, to deliver food and gifts to those in need.
"It's a nice thing to do. And it gives everyone a good feeling, especially the people that get the presents. They probably feel warm inside," says the Grade 2 West Kent Elementary student, who was thrilled when his family agreed to grant him his birthday wish.
In total, 14 people attended his birthday party at the APM Centre in Cornwall on Dec. 5. And, at his request, they brought along presents for either a boy or girl, between the ages of two and nine.
"My friends gave me everything from toy trucks and Barbie dolls to Magic Jinn, a game, a stuffed puppy dog, a shirt and a gift card for Indigo. We put that on top so they wouldn't lose it," says William, grinning as he recounts taking his gifts to the Santa's Angels' drop-off centre at Smitty's Family Restaurant in Charlottetown in two green laundry baskets.
He is one of the many donors that are making a difference in the life of others this year, says Kenny Zakem who, along with Father Stephen Allen and Don Wright, founded Santa's Angels in 2004.
"For a seven-year-old to do something like this on his own is a wonderful thing. We probably have to thank his (family) for inspiring him," says Zakem, who is busy organizing drivers and gifts for tomorrow's deliveries.
Denise Gaudet-McPhail is also pleased with her grandson's act of kindness.
"William didn't really see this as a big sacrifice. He was happy to have his party and was interested to see what was bought but fine with giving it away."
Basically, he wants everyone to enjoy the happiness that he enjoys.
"We know there are some families that won't get many presents at Christmas and that makes me feel sad. I wanted to give them my presents so they will feel happy," says William.
He is also appreciative of the support he received from his friends to make the birthday project a success.
"It's important that my friends think about other people so they won't feel left out at Christmas. And I say thank you to them."