Xavier Elliott is using his summer break to help families across the country

By Harriet Sokmensuer
Updated August 20, 2015 11:20 AM
Credit: Courtesy Elliott Family

Ten-year-old Xavier Elliott of Phoenix, Arizona, is spending his summer vacation giving back to those in need. With the help of his mom, Stephanie Elliott, Xavier is making clothes for less fortunate families.

The creative kid is using his allowance to buy fabric for the creations he makes on his mom’s sewing machine.

The project began when Stephanie started sewing as a way to relax. “It was my quiet time,” she tells PEOPLE. That is, until Xavier became interested in his mother’s new hobby.

Not long after his introduction to the craft, Xavier told his mom he was going to use his allowance to buy fabrics to make clothes for people in need.

So far, he and his mother have teamed up to make clothes for infants, children and adults.

The Elliotts have had their share of hard times. In the past two years, Xavier and his family have lived in four homeless shelters.

“The first time we ended up in a shelter was when Xavier was about a week old. I couldn’t work due to being a high risk pregnancy, and [my husband] Vincent couldn’t hold down a job due to his PTSD,” Stephanie says. “He was on the road driving trucks and having flashbacks of his time in Iraq.”

Vincent Elliott now volunteers with the Honor Guard, giving a voice to those without. And the family’s trying times have made Xavier more sympathetic to others.

“I’ve been homeless before, and I know it will make them happy,” he tells PEOPLE of his sewing efforts.

Currently, Xavier is attending DesignUFashion Camp, where he is learning how to sew by hand, drape a dress and master the sewing machine.

And thanks to social media, Xavier’s efforts have been shared internationally. The family has received donations from around the country and across the globe, with donations coming in from as far as Australia.

Stephanie keeps their supporters updated through the family’s Facebook page.

While Xavier is learning the ins and outs of sewing at camp, Stephanie is at home turning his fabric and ideas into creations.

The mother-son duo is currently making clothes for a family in Baltimore who lost everything in a series of unfortunate events, including a fire that left them with only the clothes on their backs.

“They have a daughter who loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Stephanie says. “So we’re making a dress and donating some of my husband’s clothes.”

Susan Friesland-Porch, whose family is being helped by the Elliotts, says she sees them as her guardian angels.

“It’s people like [the Elliotts] that change the world one person at a time,” Friesland-Porch tells PEOPLE. “They’re wonderful – a blessing.”

Know a hero? Send suggestions to heroesamongus@peoplemag.com. For more inspiring stories, read the latest issue of PEOPLE magazine