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12-year-old uses birthday money to buy Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids

By Jefferson Tyler

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — Christmas is two weeks away. One preteen has been saving all year for this. But not to get gifts for himself. Instead, he’s looking to make the holidays happy for those less fortunate. Raiden Barrientos has quite a full cart of toys and stuffed animals, he’s buying for Christmas.

The money for the gifts come from his birthday, Christmas gift cards, and cash he’s saved up all the year. It’s something he’s done every year since he was 4, when he had an unusual epiphany. “You know you have that one moment where it’s like let’s try something new,” said Barrientos.

Thing is, He’s pulling not pulling in a big haul for himself for the holiday. These presents are going to kids whose parents are struggling financially. “I gave this one present to this little kid, and he was so excited he started to tear up. And he said thank you so much and gave me a big hug. It kind of warmed my heart,” said Barrientos. “He wants to be able to share it with other kids, other teenagers, anybody. He’s always wanting to give,” said Barrientos’ mother Diana Rabanal.

After years of this tradition, now on the cusp of becoming a teenager, he’s looking to bring presents and smiles to more than 15 underprivileged kids this year. Cash for his birthday is instead going to buy gifts for someone else who is in need.

“I would rather give multiple gifts that are the same price, as one big one,” said Barrientos. “I was always told people would rather not get just one present to open on Christmas and that’s it. They would rather open a bunch of little stuff. Because that is what I liked when I was little, being able to open more than 1 present,” said Rabanal.

Recipients of the presents are chosen off the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, which is for families suffering financially. Barrientos also helps out Secret Santa Project Hawaii which gives out gifts to children that larger organizations weren’t able to help.

You can donate to them in Raiden’s name or just give to the organization itself. They have a Facebook and Instagram page.

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