Maryland boy, 8, raises more than $50K for homeless veterans

Maryland boy, 8, raises more than $50K for homeless veterans

A man sits on a busy New York City sidewalk with a sign declaring he is a homeless military veteran.

A Maryland boy disheartened by military veterans in need has raised more than $50,000 to help as many as he can, one “hero bag” at a time.

On Veterans Day, Andrea Blackstone told Good Morning America her son, Tyler Stallings, stumbled upon a YouTube video focused on homeless veterans and felt compelled to help. When she explained to Tyler, then 4, that their family did not have the means to physically help the struggling former military members build homes, a pet project was born.

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Blackstone told GMA she contacted Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan who provided Tyler a $100 grant. Tyler, she said, took the seed money along with proceeds from a GoFundMe link she shared on Facebook with the goal of providing needed items such as clothes, bedding and hygiene products to be delivered to those in need each Veterans Day.

Four years later, Tyler has raised more than $50,000 for his cause that now operates 365 days a year.

"It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but it turned into an all the time event," Blackstone told GMA.

According to People magazine, Tyler was dubbed the Maryland Center for Veteran Education and Training's "superhero" for his selfless efforts collecting, assembling and distributing his care packages to veterans in need. In fact, a mattress company recently donated 250 beds to the veterans' shelter and another company donated 250 backpacks for Tyler's "hero bags."

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