On Feb. 13, Rockwall County Helping Hands loaded box after box of donated items raised by first grade student Kaden Newton during his Mac and Cheese and Pancakes food drive. With approximately 7,300 items to load into the trucks, all hands were on deck including Helping Hands loaders, Newton’s dad and even Newton himself.
With every box he unloaded, Newton smiled and then ran back to retrieve yet another. He said it wasn’t easy.
“It’s fun helping out and it’s also a little hard,” Newton said.
After more than an hour of back and forth trips from the house to the car, both trucks were full.
Rockwall County Helping Hands President and CEO Jon Bailey was present and couldn’t believe the amount of items raised in just nine days.
“So, they tell you how much stuff they gathered,” Bailey said. “But once you actually see it… [Kaden] did an amazing job. He’s a special young man who obviously has a heart and a passion to help those less fortunate.”
Newton started the food drive after visiting the Helping Hands food pantry and not seeing enough kid-friendly food. The purpose of his food drive is to supply kid-friendly food such as his favorites, macaroni and cheese and pancakes.
In any given box, Pop-Tarts, peanut butter, pasta, Rice Krispie cereal, macaroni and cheese and pancakes could be found.
Kaden’s mom, Diana, said the majority of the items at their house were shipped there from Amazon Prime. Even though their house may be free of all the boxes, she said the food drive is far from over.
“Kaden told us today that we’re not done,” Diana said. “He wants to continue to bless other local food pantries and the next area he’d like to work on is Dallas.”
Bailey said Newton’s efforts show how important it is to give back to those less fortunate.
“He shows us all that no matter how old or young you are, you can make a difference in someone’s life and so I think it’s a lesson to all of us,” Bailey said. “We’re just happy that Kaden chose Rockwall County Helping Hands to be a conduit for his passion.”
Newton has upcoming food drives planned at his school and church. Celia Hays will run a school-wide Mac & Cheese and Pancakes food drive in April. Kaden’s church, First United Methodist Church of Rockwall, will run his food drive from March 1 through Easter.
As Newton prepares for more food drives, he has one message for everyone who has helped so far.
“Thank you,” Newton said. “A big thank you.”
Jasmine C. Johnson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.