SAN RAMON (KPIX 5) — An East Bay teenager likes serving others so much that she can’t just pick one charity. This week’s Jefferson Award winner volunteers for many.
In the heart of The Jungle, San Jose’s largest homeless tent city, Brittany Bates brings more than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and water.
She volunteers alongside Pastor Scott Wagers of CHAM Deliverance Ministry.
“I call her the next Mother Theresa,” said Pastor Scott. “A cute Mother Theresa, with a heart of gold.”
We saw her generosity firsthand.
Tina, a homeless woman, hugged Brittany.
“Oh, thank you,” Tina exclaimed. “This young lady is awesome, very awesome.”
Brittany gave Tina the last $200 she said she needed to rent her own place.
“I thought maybe I could give her my birthday money and not have a party,” Brittany explained.
“She’s a good girl. Thanks,” said Tina.
Brittany gave up money for her sweet 16th birthday party.
Was it a difficult decision?
“It wasn’t that hard,” said Brittany, “because this woman doesn’t have a whole lot of stuff.”
Brittany began volunteering with her family at age 6, serving the homeless holiday meals. Since then, the Carondelet High School honors student has kept on giving and giving.
“Just to make people happy and to serve. Makes me feel good,” Brittany said.
Each week, the San Ramon teenager helps Kids Against Hunger pack meals for children overseas. Brittany collects and sells donated clothes to the homeless for a penny apiece.
She also teaches Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Brittany has gone to Mexico to build houses for the homeless. And she volunteers teaching gymnastics on top of her own 20 hours of practice a week.
Her coach, Mike Lynch, calls Brittany a role model.
“Her voice is soft and easygoing. But she’s got a strong will and a lot of determination,” Mike said.
But how does she do it all?
“When I’m happy, I have energy, and when I have energy, I’m just everywhere,” Brittany smiled.
So for her wide-ranging volunteer service, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Brittany Bates.