Maren sees life’s bigger picture

Coastal resident donates to TPS
Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:13 AM

Maren Ingram has found some creative ways to spend her birthday, despite having only nine of them.

Ever since she turned 5, Maren, a rising fourth grader at First Flight Elementary School in Kill Devil Hills, has used her birthday as a way to give back to others, and even some animals.

"I really like helping people," Maren said. "And animals."

She started off four years ago asking friends to give her their spare change instead of presents. She took that money and donated it to a local food pantry. Maren followed that up by asking for friends and family for used books, of which ended up as donations to the local library.

This year, Maren wanted to do something really special.

In June, she did a lemonade stand at her family's beach cottage and raised $500. With so much money at her disposal, Maren decided to give it to three different organizations — Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing safe drinking water to remote areas, Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST) and Thomasville Primary School.

On Monday morning, Maren presented TPS Principal Angela Moore with a check for $100.

"I feel like a proud parent or grandparent and she's not even related to me," Moore said. "You don't find a lot kids like her, who want to do and help others. I'm very excited."

Maren's grandmother, Janet Ray, works at TPS as a reading specialist. 

"I am very proud of her," said Ray. "She reads a lot and she loves to read. My daughter has led her down that path and she has just taken hold of it."

Maren feels the lemonade stand is something that may stick for a few years. 

"I think I want to keep doing lemonade stands for my birthday," Maren said. "It was hot but I had fun. We sold maybe 400 cups of lemonade but a lot of people gave more than they had to."

Few children would sacrifice their birthday at such a young age. This green-eyed little girl from the coast already sees life's bigger picture.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or