Huck's Helping Hands
Ava, 8 Glens Falls, NY Three years of birthday food drives and over thousands of items collected to benefit local shelters
For Ava's 6th birthday, her mother asked her, "What is your birthday wish?" I meant a toy, and was stunned when she replied with "My birthday wish is to feed all of the hungry people in the world." And so, Ava's birthday food drive began. The first two years, she collected hundreds of items for the Open Door Mission Food Pantry in Glens Falls. She spent her 6th and 7th birthdays actively riding around and gathering non-perishable items, allthewhile giving away long hugs to everyone who helped her meet her goal. Her 8th birthday turned into something quite magical, however. This year, Ava chose the Family Services Association of Glens Falls, a crisis center for family's in need, as the benefactor of her efforts. Ava extended the deadline from the two weeks she had worked in past years, to two months. During the course of this time, she and and her mother communicated via social media with friends, family, teachers, etc and word of her mission spread like wildfire. Ava's neighbor, a local cycling instructer, hosted a "karma ride" in August which raised over $300. Faraway friends and family that couldn't donate food made online monetary donations in her name. Ava herself, to up the ante, promised to donate one of her own personal toys for every single person that donated food! In the end, Ava raised over $350 cash, over 300 non perishable food items, two bags of gently used clothing and shoes, and over 200 of her own toys and books for poverty level children. And when all was said and done when Ava made the drop, she couldn't just leave it there. She insisted to the folks at Family Services that she assist them in shelving all of the items that she helped collect so they didn't have to burden it all alone! She's already scheming about how to do even more for her 9th birthday in 2018! Ava is known and loved by so many in her "village" for her kind and generous heart and wise nature. She's one of the most selfless, sweet, polite and academic children and her primary goal in life is to "save the world". With kids like her around, there is still hope.