Whether it's serving Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter, giving his allowance to help animals or urging his fellow sixth-graders to do a little good of their own, a Lexington boy shows the spirit of the season all year.
"Even the little things you can do can make a difference," said Daima Wright, 11, who started volunteering in 2007 when he helped serve Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by Lexington's Nathaniel Mission.
Things didn't start out so well. He'd gone with his grandfather, Dr. Jeff Roth, who frequently volunteers with the mission. Daima found the experience a bit confusing. He wasn't sure exactly what he was supposed to do, and he was the only kid there his age.
It didn't help that while wrangling a big tray of pumpkin pies, Daima, then 7, stumbled, smashing slices together willy-nilly.
Not that anybody seemed to care, said Roth.
"People seemed glad to see him there."
Roth, who with his wife is from Lewis County in Eastern Kentucky, said growing up seeing people in need inspired him to volunteer. The retired emergency room doctor wanted to show Daima there are people who had very different lives than his own.
The volunteer experience made Daima want to see what else he could do.
"It made me feel bad to see people who didn't have Thanksgiving, but it made me feel good that I could do something to help," he said.
That feeling prompted him to want to do more. He's been back to the mission dinner every year. This year he and his grandfather will serve at the Nathaniel dinner and distribute Thanksgiving baskets at their church, St. Luke United Methodist. They'll grab something to eat on their own in between.
Such volunteering, Daima said, "will always be part of my Thanksgiving."
Daima has found other ways to help, too. One birthday he took the $40 he received and donated it to God's Pantry. Sure, Daima said, he thought about spending the money on a new game system. But he figured the money could do more good helping people who didn't have enough to eat.
He and a friend set up a makeshift store in their Hartland neighborhood and raised $80 for the Lexington Humane Society by selling Twizzlers, lemonade and the like. It was an effort Daima did in honor of his much-beloved dog, Ozzie, a junior Australian shepherd.
Daima has donated money to Heifer International, a charity that aims to end world hunger by helping people become self sustaining. He helped buy a water buffalo for a family.
Along the way, Daima has participated in service projects at his elementary school, Veterans Park, and now at his middle school at Lexington Christian Academy. One of his teachers has urged the sixth-grade boys to do more charity work to outdo the girls. Daima has taken the challenge seriously.
"Even if it doesn't change a lot of things," he said, "you should still do it because it's the right thing."
Plus, he said, "It doesn't hurt if we can beat the girls."