The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

September 13, 2013

Boy lends hand to hospital for 5th year

ENID, Okla. — Tabor Watkins never knew a child who sought help from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I don’t know that I ever will,” the Pleasant Vale Elementary School fifth-grader said.

He didn’t have to.

When Tabor was just 7 years old, he saw a TV show where the stars took gifts to the hospital, which provides treatment at no cost for children afflicted with catastrophic diseases. He asked his mom, Angie Watkins, how he could help.

A little later, he donated money he earned from the tooth fairy.

“That’s when I knew, wow, he did take that to heart,” Angie said.

***

During the Cherokee Strip Parade today, Tabor will fulfill his fifth year of charitable giving with a lemonade stand.

He will be selling drinks and snacks on the Garfield County Court House lawn near the gazebo. Each lemonade and baked good costs only 25 cents.

Tabor’s mission slogan is “One quarter = One life.” This year, he hopes to collect $1,000 for St. Jude.

His dad, LeRoy, said some people prod him to raise prices so he can collect more money. While it might be true, he’s sticking with his plan.

“When I was 7, I mostly had quarters,” Tabor said. “So for kids who don’t have lots of money, they can still help out and get a treat, too.”

There’s no maximum donation, though. While the stand’s up and running, most people will pay a dollar for a drink and snack, leaving the change as an extra gift. Tabor’s best friend also went above and beyond, giving half his piggy bank, about $20, for the cause.

Tabor’s Stand also has an online presence through Facebook. From there, people can link to a site at St. Jude’s website, where they can give directly.

Mainly through the online link, Tabor already has raised about $280.

***

Each day, St. Jude spends almost $2 million helping children and their families cope with catastrophic diseases. Tabor’s annual fundraiser might be just a drop in that bucket, but like with many charitable causes, it’s the thought that counts.

Angie remembers back five years when Tabor had the idea to start a lemonade stand.

“I really thought it would be a one-time thing, but every year, he asks about it and it just keeps growing,” she said.

The first year, he broke his $100 goal. He doubled it the next year. In 2012, he made $700, and this year, Tabor wants to raise at least $1,000.

“We’ll see if we can get up to that,” he said.

Angie said her family talks a lot about the less-fortunate.

“LeRoy and I both grew up very, very poor. So anytime we see a bell ringer, we’ve got to give something. If we gave going in, we’re still going to give going out,” she said.

Still, Tabor’s drive to help others, even when he was just 7 years old, brings a broad smile to her face.

“I can’t take credit for that,” she said. “That’s him and God.”

It seems Tabor’s altruism has spread to others around him. More than a dozen of his fifth-grade classmates spent the afternoon Friday helping him put the final touches on his project.

Among them Tabor stood, leading his friends, pointing out where his logo-printed stickers go and assigning who got to squeeze frosting on the cupcakes. At what seemed like a frenetic pace, the kids bustled around the young man.

One walked up to him and asked an important question, the same query that led Tabor to where he is today.

“How can I help?” the boy asked.

“Grab some gloves,” he replied.

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