He Earned $11K and Used It to Buy Gifts for Other Kids

Jonathan Werner makes it a tradition
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2022 2:25 PM CST
He Earned $11K and Used It to Buy Gifts for Other Kids
This screenshot from a news report shows Boy Scout Jonathan Werner with some of the toys he bought to give as presents to children in domestic abuse shelters.   (KARE 11 via YouTube screengrab)

Hundreds of children in domestic violence shelters and foster homes will get presents this year thanks to the compassion and salesmanship of Jonathan Werner, a Scout in Minnesota’s Troop 506. KARE 11 found him selling Boy Scout popcorn outside a department store. The 12-year-old has been doing this for half his life, and he’s gotten pretty good at it. This year, sales hit $56,396 from locations in eight counties where Werner spends his free time during fall popcorn season. His sales tactics—displayed in a news report—show him greeting anyone who walks past with, "Hello, my name is Jonathan and I'm a Star Scout in Troop 506," often followed by an upbeat "Have a great day!" as they pass by.

Obviously, plenty of people also stop to buy. As the Guardian notes, the BSA runs the popcorn sale every year as part of its mission "to teach youngsters responsibility and self-reliance." Besides raising money for their troop, Scouts are also entitled to a commission. For Werner, that amounts to a whopping $11,300, which he could have used to buy anything his adolescent heart desired. For him, that means toys for other kids—specifically, those in foster care and domestic violence shelters. It’s not the first year he’s done it; in fact, he was nominated as one of three most inspiring Minnesotans by Star Tribune readers last year.

Werner doesn’t just buy toys; he goes around to stores and shops Amazon looking for the right gift for each child. "He reads what every kid writes and tries to find something he thinks they are specifically going to like," his mother told KARE. Once all the goods are purchased, his troop throws a wrapping party. Asked what inspires him, Werner cited his dad, who grew up in foster homes. Ultimately, he wants to earn enough to buy a present for every Minnesotan child in foster care. "I just want to make kids happy for Christmas and let them know they are loved and appreciated," he explained. (Read more Boy Scouts of America stories.)

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