The Briatico family is usually big on giving; this year they're barely getting by.
"We're normally not in need, we're normally trying to put money in the kettle," Dennis Briatico said.
Dennis was laid off from MOX last spring. Instead of making donations, he and many of his former colleagues are just trying to make ends meet this year.
"Need has changed," Major Tony Perez of The Salvation Army of Augusta said. "It's not what we thought of with a person with a sign on the side of the road. It's middle class individuals in need."
"A lot of families are having trouble with work and electricity and getting bills paid," Dennis said.
So, on a family trip to Kroger, this year's kettle was not a welcome site...at first.
"We're trying to walk by and not look at the kettle, and he stops us and he says, 'Wait, I have money for you.'"
That's right, three year old Sebastian didn't have a lot, but he gave all he had.
"I don't even know how he knew he was supposed to do that," big sister Grace giggled.
"He gave every penny he gathered from cleaning the house," Dennis said. "30 seconds later we're standing in the produce section, humbled and crying by our son's act of kindness."
To Sebastian it's simple:
"It's the winter and I help people, and that's it," he said. "Just got put money in that bucket, that red bucket."
Salvation Army Major Tony Perez says that little gift in the red bucket can teach all of us a big lesson about the spirit of this season.
"This young man taught us all a lesson about giving, when you go past a bucket, it's not just a red bucket, it's hope."
Sebastian's kettle is up and running! The URL is http://www.OnlineRedKettle.org/Sebastian (or simply OnlineRedKettle.org/Sebastian)
1336 Augusta West Parkway
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