Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A 7-year-old collected $131, but gave it all away

Megan Maguire, 7, pulls herself up to get food to box for families in need at Religious Community Services Food Bank in Clearwater. Megan recently brought in her piggy bank filled with $131 and donated it to the food bank. Megan’s sister, Molly Maguire, 5, donated $28 that she saved.


Megan Maguire, 7, pulls herself up to get food to box for families in need at Religious Community Services Food Bank in Clearwater. Megan recently brought in her piggy bank filled with $131 and donated it to the food bank. Megan’s sister, Molly Maguire, 5, donated $28 that she saved.

CLEARWATER — Like many 7-year-olds, Megan Maguire has a piggy bank.

Only hers is pink, plastic and shaped like a bowling ball.

About a year ago, she set out to fill it up by working around her family's Belleair home.

Every time she folded clothes or cleaned the kitchen, she earned a quarter.

Every time she pulled a weed in the yard, she earned a nickle.

Each coin was carefully deposited into the clear pink plastic bowling ball in her room.

One night recently, when she and her 5-year-old sister, Molly, were being cared for by a babysitter, she opened the bank and counted her savings. It came to $131, a fortune for a kid.

But did she ask to go to the mall to get the latest Jonas Brothers CD?

No way.

"Once I saved it, I didn't know what to do with it,'' Megan said. "So this place is the only place I could think about donating it to.''

This place is the Religious Community Services Food Bank and this week, Megan, Molly and their mother, Amy Maguire, brought the bowling ball bank heavy with money to Kathi Trautwein, director of the food bank.

"I thought it was just so neat,'' Trautwein said. "Amy's done a good job training them early that people are less fortunate than they are.''

Trautwein said the food bank serves nearly 16,000 people a month. And in the last year, the need has grown drastically.

"In November 2007, we served 98 families a day,'' Trautwein said. "In November 2008, we served 142 families a day.''

Amy Maguire, 40, is a communications and business development specialist with Southern Strategy Group, and her husband of 15 years, Sean Maguire, also 40, works in banking.

Megan is a second-grader and Molly is a kindergartener at St. Paul's School in Clearwater.

Everyone in the family is passionate about helping those in need.

They donate bedding to Grace House, Religious Community Services' emergency shelter for at-risk families, and serve Thanksgiving meals to homeless people at Pinellas Hope.

But their hearts are with the food bank.

"The first time I came I gave an apple to a little boy and he wasn't sure what it was and that just broke my heart,'' Amy Maguire said.

Maguire and her two daughters volunteer at the food bank every other Thursday, filling boxes with cans of vegetables, fruit cocktail, meat and beans.

On Thursday, the girls also had gifts to hand out. They gave a soccer ball and a finger puppet to a little blond girl who was sitting in her mother's lap waiting for something to eat. A smile formed on the tot's lips and her eyes grew wide as she looked at her early Christmas presents and began to play with them.

Driving home from the food bank to Belleair with its graceful waterfront homes, Megan thought about what she had seen.

"We are so blessed,'' she told her mom.

Both she and her sister still believe in Santa, their mom said, and each has requested three gifts from him. But they also believe he needs help to make wishes come true.

Molly, who is learning from her sister, wanted to help him.

As the holidays approached, she took her pink and purple bike to give to a little kid who quite possibly had never owned one before in her life.

Eileen Schulte can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

A 7-year-old collected $131, but gave it all away 12/18/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 1:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]