PITTSFIELD -- Austin White is on a mission to prove that no person and no gesture is too small to support a Marine.
Austin, 14, an eighth-grader at Reid Middle School, recently saw his cousin A.J. Steele, a Berkshire County resident, enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps and sent to Oklahoma.
Austin wanted to something to support Steele and other Marines, so he did what any other 21st-century student does to find information -- go online.
There he found MarineParents.com, which offers a multitude of ways people can help support Marines.
With the help of his father, Michael White, Austin started a group called Kids Who Care, and started a Facebook page to garner support.
Austin's main goal is to gather donated items and funds to assemble and ship care packages to Marines. A wish list for item donations can be found at Facebook.com/carepackagecentral.
Over these final couple weeks of school, Austin enlisted the Reid Student Council for a letter writing campaign.
Starting tonight, and for the rest of the summer, he and his family and friends will man a booth at Pittsfield Third Thursdays to collect donations and raise awareness.
Tonight, they will be stationed next to the Dalton American Legion Riders, near the corner of Columbus Avenue and North Street.
"It's good to think of Marines and to show them we care," said Austin. "A lot of them are not much older than us kids -- 18 to 25. Many of them might enlist because they don't have a lot of contact with family and friends, so this shows that we actually still pay attention to them and thank them for what they do."
Michael White said he's proud of his son's intentions and will be taking him on a trip later this year to help deliver the packages in person.
"Everything [Austin] does inspires me. He's very thoughtful and caring. Sometimes we take for granted the things we have. He wants to help other kids think about others," Michael said.
Dan Gigliotti, administrative assistant for the Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development, said Third Thursdays is glad to host charitable causes and support people like Austin White.
"We think it's great. Any way we can help out different groups in the community we try to," Gigliotti said.
This week's Third Thursday will also host a local youth softball fundraiser, support for the Michael MacDonald Scholarship Fund, and a lemonade stand sponsored by Big Head Books to support youth entrepreneurship.