This is a tale of three young sisters, a homemade cartoon character nicknamed Little Man, and a flock of plastic pink flamingos.

You might call it a children's story: Anna, 11, Grace, 9, and Abigail Buss, 4, with storybook looks and personalities to match, are helping feed hungry men, women, and children.

The girls' "Live Civilly" campaign - symbolized by the Little Man icon - also helps connect Camden with Moorestown and beyond. It puts faith into action, and "it makes us feel good," Anna says as she, her sisters, and their parents, Joe and Kahra, make a delivery to Camden's Bridge of Peace.

The Lutheran church, in the Fairview section of the city, is a sister congregation to St. Matthew Lutheran in Moorestown, where the Buss family worships and where Living Civilly was born.

The Busses broke bread with some homeless guests of St. Matthew last year, and the kids had questions. "It started as a simple teaching tool about how to help other people," Joe says.

"The girls were just so taken aback that people didn't have what they have," Kahra adds. "We told them, 'We'll help you do whatever you want to do to help.' At first, they wanted to build a hotel."

A more practical plan emerged, which is where Little Man and the flamingos come in. With the help of their parents, the girls used several of these pink birds-on-a-stick as a sort of chain letter.

Flamingos would appear on a family's lawn, carrying a pledge form and a request to be placed on the next patch of grass. "We call the flamingos our helpers," Grace says.

Moorestown may not seem like a plastic flamingo sort of town, but folks at the Sunnybrook Swim Club and elsewhere in the community not only took to the idea but also asked for a return engagement in 2010.

After netting 600 pounds for the Food Bank of South Jersey last year, the sisters decided to focus this time on the pantry at Bridge of Peace via donations of food or cash.

"This wasn't contrived by us," Kahra says. "It was something they started. It was genuine. They wanted to do something good."

Grace had been drawing a squiggly-haired stick figure she called Little Man (no other name needed) since she was 2 or 3. Though little more than a head, this smiling fellow is nothing if not warmhearted.

"Little Man is always doing something nice for somebody else," Kahra notes.

"He's got a unique personality," Anna says.

The girls decided to update the character; he now has a dog called Puppadelic (Anna's idea).

"Little Man has grown with us," Kahra says. "Now there's a more sophisticated variation, but it's still Little Man."

With the help of their parents, the sisters got car and refrigerator magnets made. Three Moorestown businesses carry them on consignment; sales have been made to people in 10 states. They go for $6.

"Little Man is actually becoming somewhat viral," Joe says, noting that a relative recently spotted one on a car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

On the day I visit, the girls are taking $200 in Little Man sales proceeds to Laura Sanchez, who coordinates programs for Bridge of Peace. They've already delivered another 600 pounds of food, filling Bridge of Peace's fast-emptying pantry shelves.

Sanchez, who lives in the city with her husband and their 9-year-old daughter, has been on the front lines in Camden for more than 20 years.

"Every month for the last six months we've had new families we've never seen before," says Sanchez, whose program will serve about 1,000 people this year.

She's seen people in the suburbs make earnest efforts to help Camden. Living Civilly "is coming from the kids," Sanchez says. "I'm impressed."

Joe, who served in the Marines and works as an engineer, has "a heck of a lot of pride" in his daughters. He and Kahra - high school sweethearts who grew up in Moorestown and are turning 40 - say they feel blessed.

The girls' effort "has resonated deeply with each of us," Kahra says. "They have inspired us to do more, to be better and to live more richly through helping others."

Joe says: "We realize we're all within a couple steps of being in the same spot" as the people lining up for food at Bridge of Peace.

The girls, Little Man, and the flamingos may sound like a children's story. But it's not kids' stuff.

Contact Kevin Riordan at 856-779-3845 or kriordan@phillynews.com.