For her pre-school public service project, a 5-year old named Phoebe was determined to help feed some of the 150,000 San Franciscans who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. So she started collecting empty cans to turn in for the recycling money. Her plan was to donate the proceeds to the San Francisco Food Bank.
She also created a hand-written plea for cash donations and distributed it to family, friends and pre-school alumni.
Phoebe’s teacher, Kathleen, always asks each student to perform a public service project before graduation. Past graduates operated lemonade stands and donated their proceeds to the food bank, but Phoebe was the first to come up with the idea of recycling cans. Her goal was to raise $1,000.
Every Thursday, she would count her money and report to the San Francisco Food Bank’s Events and Food Drives team.
A mention by San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius helped spread the word about Phoebe’s efforts. Caring people dropped off bags of cans on the school’s steps and left envelopes of cash in the school’s mailbox.
In just a few weeks, Phoebe collected 4,497 cans and raised a total of $3,736.30!
On June 25, Phoebe and her teacher presented a special box that Phoebe created, stuffed with checks and cash, to Paul Ash, Executive Director of the San Francisco Food Bank at Phoebe’s pre-school. Two TV news crews and two websites turned out to document the event.
Paul presented Phoebe with a certificate of thanks from the food bank. As he said, “There are not many people your age – not many people of any age – that have made this sort of contribution to help other people. So on behalf of all those people who are going to have food on their table because of you, thank you very much.”
Because the San Francisco Food Bank can turn a $1 donation into $9 worth of food, the amount 5-year old Phoebe raised allows us to distribute $33,626.70 worth of groceries – enough for about 17,971 meals.
Here’s a video showing Phoebe, her teacher, Kathleen, and the presentation: