Bourne Siblings Charity Honors Victims Of Sandy Hook Shooting

Brayden (left) and Madison McWilliams stand in front of the merry-go-round at the Market Basket in Buzzards Bay. The youngsters taped 26 quarters to the miniature carousel so other children can enjoy a free ride. The quarters were in memory of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December.COURTESY FARRAH E. MCWILLIAMS - Brayden (left) and Madison McWilliams stand in front of the merry-go-round at the Market Basket in Buzzards Bay. The youngsters taped 26 quarters to the miniature carousel so other children can enjoy a free ride. The quarters were in memory of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December.

People who have done their holiday grocery shopping at the Market Basket in Buzzards Bay during the past week or so may have noticed something unusual outside the store.

A grouping of quarters were recently taped to the small children’s merry-go-round out in front of the market; a total of 26 quarters, in fact. The coins were left at the ride two weeks ago, courtesy of 7-year-old Brayden D. McWilliams and his 5-year-old sister, Madison M., for anyone to use to enjoy a free ride on the store’s outdoor attraction.

“Random acts of kindness,” Madison said, explaining why she and her brother decided to give away free rides.

The children are both students at Bournedale Elementary School. Brayden is in 2nd grade and Madison is in kindergarten. The two said that they settled on taping up 26 quarters as a way of honoring and remembering the 20 students and six teachers who were victims of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a year ago.

Their father, Glenn McWilliams of Buzzards Bay, said that a small sign was also placed near the coins, listing the names of the students and teachers who died.

“Somebody told me they still had 12 coins hanging up there as of last night,” Mr. McWillliams said during an interview on Monday.

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The McWilliams children’s random acts of kindness did not stop with the merry-go-round. They donated 20 presents to the Homeless for the Holidays event.

“One for each of the students,” Brayden said.

They also handed out six Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards, of varying denominations, to people at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in Buzzards Bay.

Mr. McWilliams said that the donations were made on Saturday, December 14, the one-year anniversary of the Newtown shootings. He mentioned that his children’s desire to do something in memory of the victims was informed, in part, by the extensive news coverage of the anniversary that day.

“You try to steer them away from seeing those types of things and hearing about them, but it just slips through,” he said.

He mentioned that a year ago, in the aftermath of the shooting, Brayden and Madison were saddened by what happened, but they also had an upbeat response.

“The way they worded it that day was ‘Now there’s angels, now they became angels.’ It was very sweet,” he said.

Paying it forward has become an annual tradition in the McWilliams house, Mr. McWilliams said. He noted that every Christmas, Brayden and Madison are told to go through their toys and pick out some to donate.

“Every year they have to go through all their stuff to make room for the new…” Mr. McWilliams said.

“And get rid of the old!” Brayden said.

Mr. McWilliams said that the plan for the coins, the gift cards and the toy donations was put together by him, his children and his wife, Farrah E McWilliams. He said that because the children were aware of the anniversary and its meaning, it was an opportunity for their family to do something to help the less fortunate.

“We just thought, ‘What could we do?’ I mean, it’s a drop in the bucket, but every drop helps,” he said.

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