It took more than two years for A.J. Goforth to save his pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters. 

The Grove fifth grader combined money for small jobs, along with birthday and Christmas funds with one goal in mind - he wanted to get a set of night-vision binoculars. 

Things changed at the end of February, as students at the Upper Elementary school began to talk about St. Jude, and the annual "penny drive."

The event, organized by members of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha Zeta Alpha chapter, helps some of Grove's youngest students learn about St. Jude's Children's Hospital and how it helps children in need.

The classrooms which raise the most funds in both the lower and upper sites, win a pizza party provided by ESA members.

Mid-week, during the effort, Goforth gave $10 to the fund, because he wanted to do his part.

"My teacher [Lydia Cochran] has a friend, whose child is there getting everything - food, shelter and treatment - for free," Goforth said, explaining his decision.

By the end of the week, Goforth decided to give the rest of his savings, $170, to the fund.

"God told me to," Goforth said, summing up his actions with a simple shrug. "He told me to give the money, because you can't always think about yourself.

"I just thought I should give."

Goforth said it "felt good" to do what I thought needed to be done. Initially, he wanted to keep the donation quiet, because he didn't want to boast about his actions.

Things changed after his teacher posted about his actions on the district's Facebook page.

"AJ has a big heart and we are proud that he is part of the Ridgerunner family," she wrote in the message.

Goforth said several classmates, and even older students, questioned his actions.

He simply replies "because God told me to."

After Cochran made the post, someone brought a set of night-vision binoculars to the upper elementary for Goforth. The same type of binoculars he had been saving to purchase.

"I was just very shocked," Goforth said. "I didn't expect it."

Goforth's father, T.J., said he knows his son is not perfect, but loves his generous spirit.

"He's just like any other kid," T.J. Goforth said. "But he's got this heart. He has so much to give."

T.J. Goforth said he initially tried to talk his son out of donating the whole $180.

"He said, 'Dad, I want to give it all'," T.J. Goforth said, adding he hopes his son's actions inspires others to give from the heart.

"It just shows there is still some feel good hearts out there," T.J. Goforth said. "His giving $180 is like me giving $1,700. It's just very impressive to me."

This is the second time Goforth has given his savings to help others. 

Two years ago he, along with his sister Taylor, gave more than $250 of their savings to fundraising efforts for Carrie Couch, an area teacher who was fighting breast cancer.

Goforth said people should give to others.

"That way the people, who the money is going to know that somebody out there cares about them," Goforth said.

Goforth hopes to become a game warden when he gets older. He is the son of T.J. and Heather Goforth and Jona Johnson.