You have to meet Austin.
While some kids his age are focused on playing outside or messing around with toys, Birmingham, Alabama resident Austin Perine has his sights on something a little bigger. Instead of spending his Saturdays in the dirt, this four-year-old boy is hitting the streets in a cape – to feed the homeless. Austin walks around the streets of Birmingham handing out burgers and drinks to folks on the street, all while shouting, "Don't forget to show love!"
"It makes me feel great when I get to feed the homeless," Austin said. "Because it's just the right thing to do." His signature slogan (you'll even see it on his T-shirt as he's passing out food) is a perfect summation of his mission. "Don't forget to show love," he said. "It means you care about someone, no matter what they look like."
Austin's dad, TJ, has been nurturing this spirit in his son since the beginning. "We got started back in February [when] Austin was just sitting at home watching TV, and he saw a mother panda leave her cubs. I told him that the cub would one day get a home of his own when he got bigger, but that didn't sit well with Austin. He kept asking questions, you know – are people homeless? We decided to come to the homeless shelters in Birmingham and just show a little love."
In his own home, Austin is also a beacon of light. "I think that Austin really likes helping people," TJ said, "because his brother has autism. Since he's been able to walk and talk, [Austin's] been kind of a nurturer to him. And it's just a natural thing. Once you find out that your child likes something and it's something positive, then, as a parent, it's your responsibility to give them that platform to keep doing it."
And, there are plenty of people in the Birmingham, Alabama community to be helped, says TJ. "We've been very busy, and there's a lot of people that need [Austin], not just for the food, but they need him for the hope."