GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Family members say 8-year-old Nevaeh Alston always wanted to help.
“She’s a very sweet little girl who always took care of everybody else before herself,” Amber Hampton, Nevaeh’s aunt, said as she sat on her porch Wednesday.
That giving spirit was demonstrated before her death Tuesday.
Around 9 p.m., Nevaeh was crossing Bridge Street between Bridgewater Place and Ah-Nab-Awen Park in Grand Rapids. She was with her mom, Sarah Hampton, and other family crossing the street from north to south toward the park. Family members said they had stopped in the middle of the road, waiting for cars to pass, when the girl ran into traffic. She was hit by an eastbound vehicle.
Police and paramedics attended to Nevaeh until she was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where she died.
Police say alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors in the crash and the driver stopped at the scene. No charges were being sought as of Wednesday, though the investigation was still underway.
Nevaeh was a student at Kent Hills Elementary. Her aunt, Hampton, lived nearby and often walked her to school.
There may not be too many second-graders who want to spend their free time helping the homeless, but to those who knew Neveah, it makes perfect sense.
“She met a homeless person and she wanted to go down there and bring him something to eat,” Allison Soulard, Nevaeh’s great-aunt, said.
The little girl’s aunts and uncle say that on Monday, Nevaeh was feeding the ducks at Ah-Nab-Awen Park near the Lorrie’s Button sculpture when she met the man. She gave him the rest of her popcorn and some change.
“That’s all she thought about all day at school and when she got home that’s all she thought about, was going to bring him some food,” Soulard said.
“She wanted to bring him popcorn and apples and oranges,” Hampton said. “With neighborhood friends, they might not have exactly what they need to stay warm or something, (so) she would give them her gloves if she needed to, her scarf, anything. She always cared for everyone else.”
They mourned the future she will never have.
“She was just saying that she was just practicing to be an artist,” Hampton said.
“We want her to be at peace up in heaven,” said her uncle, Bruce Willoughby, who pointed out that her name is “heaven” spelled backward. “She was like a piece of heaven right down here on earth.”
Family said her organs would be donated.
“She definitely would have wanted that. For sure,” Hampton said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Nevaeh’s family cover funeral expenses.
**Correction: A previous version of this article stated Naveah was 9. She was actually 8.