A one-child crusade against youth hunger stopped in Trumbull this week, spending time at Jane Ryan School’s Cub Scout meeting before departing with more than 200 pounds of donated food.
Samuel Rodrigue, a 9-year-old from Seymour, has collected over 11,000 pounds of food since September, when he learned about the number of children living in food deprived environments.
“One night me and my dad were talking about kids in inner cities and that just got me thinking how every single night my dad cooks me a warm meal for dinner, and we sit down at the table and we’re able to talk, and every single morning when I wake up my dad makes me a nice warm breakfast,” Samuel said. “Yet, other kids don’t have that.”
So, Samuel started Sam’s Kids, a non-perishable food drive to benefit local food pantries. He started it on Sept. 17.
He drew a flyer for the fundraiser, which a friend, Mike Azzarone, later took and designed into professional flyers for Sam. Initially, Samuel started by collecting 530 pounds of food donated at Chatfield-Lopresti School in Seymour. He put a shopping cart in the school and gave out flyers to students to take home to their parents, asking them to send in food. Samuel said it felt good to see the carriage get full. He and his dad delivered the food to Spooner House.
While at Spooner House, Samuel stocked shelves and noticed that the shelter needed more food. He took notice of what was needed. Sam’s father Glen said peanut butter is one of Samuel’s favorite items because a single jar makes many sandwiches. Sam said he wanted to see what Spooner House needed, especially for children.
“I went in there because if I go into in there to see what they actually need, then I’m not asking for any old thing that maybe they don’t need, which I’m just giving it away,” Samuel said.
Since that first food drive, Sam has held several others, including as far away as New York and California. Donors have included youth hockey teams, a real estate office and several local learning centers. In addition to Jane Ryan, Sam has spoken at local Board of Education meetings, a Lions Club meeting and Emmett O’Brien Technical High School, which started its own Sam’s Kids chapter. The ultimate goal, Sam said, is to have Sam’s Kids food drives in every state.
“It feels good to know that you are doing something great, and it also feels good to know that you are giving,” Samuel said.
For more information or to make a donation to Sam’s Kids food drive visit feedingsamskids.com.