HELPING HAND: 5-year-old 'superhero' raising money for homeless vets

- It is the season for giving and one Maryland boy is leading the way when it comes to generosity.

Tyler Stallings and his mother Andrea Blackstone collect items for homeless veterans. They put a lot of effort into making his dreams and aspirations come true.

At 5 years old, Tyler even has a business card as he is the honorary CEO of their company, Kid Time Enterprises, which basically publicizes his book. Yep, that’s right. He has a book and it highlights all of the good work that they do.

Tyler’s holiday spirit is contagious. In his costume promoting a superhero character from his book, Tyler Goes Around the World, he spends his evenings and weekends collecting money at shopping centers near his home in Cheverly. 

Tyler and his mom have been buying supplies for the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training. Some of the items they have bought from the money they raised include backpacks, gloves, hats and socks. But the big ticket item they were able to get – a computer for unemployed veterans to use.

“To look for a job to do,” Tyler said.

They have been going off a list of requested items and even started with a GoFundMe page. But after some time, the online donations slowed.

“The last thing we need is hygiene kits and we're kind of stuck on money,” the 5-year-old told us.

So the mother and son began heading out with a can. Blackstone homeschools her son, and when she explained to him at the age of 4 that many veterans are homeless, he was horrified. He asked if they could do something about it.

Tyler's father, grandfather and uncle have all served so it is a cause close to their hearts. He has even received a citation from the governor that highlight their efforts.

Blackstone is one ambitious single mom. She also helped Tyler write his book where he becomes a superhero. It was published last August.

“He has had book signings, including at Morgan State University,” she said. “He was a featured author. He has been around the Beltway selling his book at various places. It has just been a matter of getting him out there, but also letting him know that you connect something that you want to do to your projects – so giving back is a part of that project.”

This is Tyler's second big effort. Last Easter, he donated more than $800 worth of supplies to the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

“That made me feel super-duper proud of myself,” he said.

And this is just the beginning.

“Tyler believes in this, I believe in it and we think it is important and we are trying to really send a message that if a child has a passion and the adult is willing to get behind them, you don’t know where their idea can take them," said Tyler's mother.

So far they have raised more than $900 in their recent efforts and Tyler is also donating some of the profits from his book sales. They said they want veterans to know people care about them, especially around the holidays.

If you would like to donate to the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, go to www.mcvet.org.

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