Teen’s selfless act inspires others to “pay it forward”

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – You may remember the 16-year-old we introduced you to around Christmas. She spent her entire paycheck from Baesler’s Market on a family in need for the holidays.

Now that one act has prompted a new campaign for kindness here in the Wabash Valley.

“It was meant to be for him to come through my line and for me to hear that because I was going to do something about it, I had to,” said Abby Meehan.

This 16-year-old put her Christmas plans on halt to buy gifts for the Swetland family. This includes 10-year-old Jacob, 15-year-old Matthew, 17-year-old Nathan and 18-year-old Joshua.

The story quickly took off, gaining national attention. Good Morning America, ABC News and CBS News recognized Abby’s kind deed.

With word spreading across programming and social media, the Swetlands received another knock on their door this week.

This time it wasn’t Abby.

“I asked can I please have your name or something?” said Cory Swetland. “And he said no, no we’re anonymous, we’re just Team Abby.”

A father and son who were inspired by Abby’s kindness brought toys and treats for the four boys.

“It made the boys’ day, you wouldn’t believe how happy they were,” said Swetland.

Now the mother is teaching her sons how to pay it forward. The five of them plan to do community service at the Conner’s Center to help others in need.

“Somebody did something nice for us like we have done for other people so now it comes back around,” said Swetland.

Now the 16-year-old is making sure her kindness is a never ending cycle. She’s creating a non-profit called Team Abby, all to extend a helping hand for deserving people like the Swetland family.

And as for the new friendship, Swetland says they’ll be rooting for Abby every step of the way.

“We will support them 150% and all of the boys and I will be there no matter what,” said Swetland.

The Meehan family is planning the first event for #TeamAbby. Abby’s mother, Mandy Meehan told News 10 her daughter was born on Leap Year so Abby had an idea to throw a birthday party for children in need in place of her birthday celebration.

The Meehans are working with elementary schools for recommendations of children who may not receive a birthday party of their own. The event is planned for the end of February.

If you would like to get involved in the event or help with #TeamAbby, contact Mandy Meehan at meehan1977@gmail.com .

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