Giving Without Judgement
When Grant Skelton was eight years old, he received $75 for Thanksgiving from his grandparents. They told him to help someone in need with it.
In thinking about how to use the money, Grant reached out to his pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau. His pastor knew a man who was living in his van in a parking lot just outside of Cape and suggested Grant give his money to this man to help. Grant did and has never turned back.
“It just made me feel really good, so I just wanted to do that more on a daily basis,” says Grant, who is now in the seventh grade at Cape Central Junior High School. “It’s turned into something that I never thought it would.”
Five years later, this simple act of giving has led to Grant founding Granting Grace Outreach, which he worked to establish from November 2015 to April 2016 by working with his pastor and forming a board together comprised of members from his church. The organization holds numerous fundraisers throughout the community to raise funds for people who need help, including organizing Gospel concerts and car shows and working with local restaurants who donate a percentage of the profits from fundraiser nights.
As they’ve grown, the Granting Grace Outreach has begun to work with the Cape Girardeau Police Department to provide for the needs of people who have been taken into custody but not arrested. If someone needs a place to stay, the foundation takes care of their hotel bill for a couple of nights through working with a local hotel. Or, if someone is passing through town and needs help, they give them money for food or gas.
The foundation also supports local people Grant or board members hear about who could use a little extra support while they are going through a difficult time, such as the inability to work due to an illness. They also put together care kits filled with personal hygiene items to give to those who request them and have provided funds for people to help pay utility bills. Through the foundation, Grant has even been able to help a couple of his teachers and their loved ones.
This love without judgement is fueled by Acts 20:35 from the Bible: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In addition to being the mission statement for Granting Grace Outreach, these are the words Grant says he lives his life by.
“I just like to know that I am trying to change the world in a way, and I get to help people, and it’s just something I’ve wanted to do,” he says. “Now that I get to do it on a daily basis, it’s a great feeling to have, to help all these people. I don’t get to meet a lot of them in person, but the ones I have, have just made me feel so much better, and I know it’s made them feel a lot better, too.”
As Grant leads the organization, others have taken notice of the good work he is doing. In 2017, Granting Grace Outreach was recognized as a Remarkable Project for the United Methodist Churches in Missouri, and Grant was honored as an Amazing Kid at the National United Methodist Church Convention. In 2018, he received the Good Samaritan Award from the General Commission on United Methodist Men, and in February 2019, he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Citywide Celebration Committee. Grant invites others to stay informed about the organization’s fundraiser events by visiting the Granting Grace Outreach Facebook Page or by reaching out to Grace United Methodist Church.
Grant says the desire to do something good is the most important factor in making a positive difference in the world. He counsels others to get in touch with their pastor to help connect them to those who might be in need. And when young people have big ideas, Grant says he hopes people trust them; they understand more than one might think.
“We know what’s going on in this society, and we just have to get the right touch going,” Grant says. “Anything’s possible for young kids.”