By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
She wanted an iPod, some new clothes and new shoes.
But she needed money.
So 11-year-old Kimberly Rankin of Temple had an idea.
'I thought I could recycle and get paid for it,' she said.
So she started collecting aluminum cans, trash mail and newspapers to trade in for cash.
'I asked all my neighbors to help,' Kimberly said. 'I wrote my name and address on index cards and passed them out. That way they'd know I'd take care of their recycling stuff.'
The young girl's enterprise turned out to be quite profitable. She earned enough money for the things she wanted but decided she didn't want to go shopping.
'I had a better idea,' Kimberly said.
She took her earnings to First United Methodist Church of Temple for its Soldier-of-the-Month program.
Her contribution bought supplies for a care package that was sent to a soldier in Iraq.
'I was very proud of my daughter when she decided she wanted to do that,' said Iris Rankin, the FUMC children's ministry leader.
That was in September of 2008. By October, the FUMC Recycling Project was born. Encouraged by Kimberly's example, the children of FUMC decided they wanted to 'recycle for the soldiers.' 'Everybody started helping,' Kimberly said. 'We made some collection bins. The third-graders make cards for the soldiers, and the fourth-and-fifth graders do the loading and unloading of everything.'
The older children also take turns in shopping for the care package items.
'All the money stays at the church until it's time to go shopping,' Kimberly explained. 'Then once a month my mom will take some of us to go pick stuff out.'
The care package contains treats like beef jerky and hard candies and surprise items.
'We like to send funny stuff, to make them smile and laugh,' Kimberly said. 'At Halloween, we sent a scary spider, and the next month we sent a rubber chicken.'
Sgt. Jonathan Michael Pilgrim was the soldier to receive that rubber chicken. He wrote the children a thank-you letter for it.
'It was the most interesting thing in the package,' Pilgrim wrote. 'I keep that chicken on my desk. It is great for stress relief.'
Anyone is welcome to drop of recyclable items at FUMC, 102 N. Second St. in Temple. There's a collection bin in the front foyer.
'The recycling program has been a great addition to the church,' said Pastor Tom Robbins. 'When children come up with ideas like these, it's a testament to their parents and Sunday school teachers.'