She first heard about the program during service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Madison stayed silent on the subject until her family returned home. She asked her parents more about the program and the kids who are in need.
Then she thought about the family vacation coming up.
“We were planning a trip to Disney World and she said, ‘Well that is a lot of money,’” Madison’s mother, Heather Jackson, said. “‘If we have a lot of money in the bank, why are you spending it on Disney instead of on kids who need food?’”
Madison’s parents explained the trip was already paid for, but they could do something when they returned.
James Jackson, Madison’s father, said his daughter had a lot of beads, so she began making jewelry. Initially, the pieces were sold to friends and family. Now they can be found at local shops like Cooke’s Food Store.
The bracelets and necklaces sell for $5.
Heather and James estimate Madison has made more than 50 pieces of jewelry.
Madison’s story touched the heart of Lee Ann Lowe, Sac Pac coordinator.
“I cried,” Lowe said. “I went to church and met her grandmother. I also saw the jewelry she is selling and it was so touching. It was just so touching to me that it affected her in that way.”
Lowe compared Madison’s efforts to those of Cleveland native and Tunes 4 the Troops founder Kaylee Marie Radzyminski. She said she believes Madison could have a similar story as Radzyminski.
“I almost see it going into that — The Madison Jackson Child Hunger Fund,” Lowe said. “I think once people hear about her, they are just going to be blown away.”
According to Lowe, efforts by Madison and other donors have helped increase the schools from last year’s four to this year’s seven. The program ended last year with 263 children signed up. This year, 434 elementary-aged students will be helped at the outset.
“It was a wake-up call to me, being born and raised in Bradley County, to be able to see first hand there are children who are going hungry in our county and city,” Lowe said.” It is an honor to be a part of the program and to know the difference Sac Pacs are making in children’s lives.”
Twenty dollars a month provides one student with a Sac Pac every Friday. These packs include food for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Students are specifically chosen for their free and reduced lunch status and socioeconomic standing.
Community members can sponsor a child for a weekend at $5, a month at $20 or a year at $240. Donations like the ones raised by Madison ensure the steady continuation and growth of the program.
While her jewelry is still being sold, Madison has decided to take up another venture to occupy her summer months.
“This summer she is doing a read-a-thon,” Heather said. “Her family is supporting her and giving her money for every book she reads, because she loves to read.”
Madison’s voracious literary appetite has already consumed more than 25 books this summer. Sometimes she reads two books a day. James said his daughter is on track to read 100 books in two months.
Family members are giving the young philanthropist anywhere from a quarter to a dollar for every book she reads. Madison will collect and donate the money at the end of summer.
“We are just very proud and it inspires us and everyone in our family to do what we can to help anyone in need,” James said. “We are very proud and inspired by her remarkable ability and [thoughtfulness].”