Young boy rallies community to provide goats for those in need

Wilson, 8, set an ambitious goal to raise $2,000 in a year to purchase farm animals through World Vision’s Gift Catalog this Christmas season.

By Shawna Templeton
Published November 23, 2011 at 12:00am PST

Amanda Lutz, a mother of two boys in Fort Benning, Georgia, was in search of a memorable Christmas experience for her two boys — Wilson, then 5, and Walker, 2 — while their father was deployed with the military in 2008. She asked God to show them a meaningful way to give throughout the Christmas season.

God answered her prayers in ways she never could have imagined.

Joy Jars

That year, Amanda, Wilson, and Walker set out three jars that spelled “JOY” and began putting spare change in them. They agreed to eat a lot of soup during November and December, and the money they saved on groceries went into the Joy Jars.

With the money they collected in their Joy Jars, they selected items from World Vision’s Gift Catalog. They have continued this wonderful tradition for three years. 

Children think big

Last year, when it came time to look through the catalog, Wilson picked out “28 Farm Animals.” The boys had watched many of World Vision’s True Spirit of Christmas videos and learned about the ripple effect of just one goat. Wilson wanted to give as many farm animals as he could.  

However, “28 Farm Animals” was priced at $2,000, and they only had about $160 in the Joy Jars. Wilson was deflated. 

“That look on his face lodged deeply in my husband’s and my heart,” says Amanda. Wilson resigned himself to choose lower-priced items that year.

The Lutz family models t-shirts created for Wilson's fundraising project.

An opportunity to trust God

That Christmas, Amanda’s husband, Brad, received “The Hole in our Gospel as a gift. He and Amanda were both moved to act after reading the book. They decided to ask Wilson if he wanted to set a goal to raise that $2,000 in a year.  

“I’ll admit, there was fear in this momma’s heart about if he failed…” says Amanda. “But we worked through that and decided to step out and trust God with this desire He put in our son’s heart.”

“Got Goat?” takes off

Once Wilson received his fundraising packet, he started a blog to tell friends and family about his goal. He was especially attracted to the “Got Goat?” theme. Friends could donate to his cause through his blog.

Wilson faithfully put aside some of his allowance each payday, and so did Walker. The Lutz family has also donated garage sale proceeds, as have some of their friends.

As another way to raise money, Wilson wanted to sell t-shirts. In another God-ordained moment, a print-shop owner from their church offered to create the design and layout at no charge and printed the first batch of t-shirts (30+) for free. Wilson even helped print the shirts.

‘An amazing privilege to watch God move hearts’

Wilson reached his goal in September, and the donations keep coming.

“His dad and I have been humbled to tears so many times through this journey,” says Amanda.

“It has been an amazing privilege to watch God move hearts through our son’s dream of helping others.”

Learn more

Read Wilson’s blog to see what he has been up to this year.

Three ways you can help

Thank God for the good work He can do through families like the Lutzes and children like Wilson. Ask God to inspire and empower you to step out in faith this Christmas to help children and families in need.

Give a gift through our Gift Catalog this Christmas. Choose among items that resonate with you. Consider giving a life-changing gift in honor of a loved one. 

Start your own Gift Catalog page. Ask friends to join you in giving gifts that help lift children and families out of poverty. Set up your page and share it with friends and family. Team up with your school, work, or church to make an even bigger difference.