NINE-YEAR-OLD Jaiden Showler of Wallan has shed a positive light on the COVID-19 pandemic by starting his own pantry of food, free to vulnerable people in the community.
Using his own pocket money, Jaiden purchases foods to compile and have ready for when he finds someone in need of the extra support.
Jaiden said when he was five, he saw people without food in the city, and he felt compelled to do something about it.
“I saw lots of homeless people without food and it made me sad, I wanted to help so I made them lunch and took it to them,” he said.
“Another time when I was l little I had some money and brought myself some pizza at the Preston market and on the way home I saw a homeless man he had a sign asking for food so I gave him my lunch and my change so he could eat.
“Everyone is having a hard time at the moment, so I want to help.”
The young boy said it was rewarding to use his own money to support the vulnerable community members.
“It makes me feel good spending my pocket money to help feed people. Everyone deserves to eat, nobody should go without food,” he said.
“I haven’t seen people’s reactions yet, but I’ll feel really happy and proud seeing them happy.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone who is helping me make life a bit easier for other people and thank my mum and dad for encouraging me in what I want to do.”
Jaiden’s mother Amanda Dee said it was always in her son’s nature to help the disadvantaged.
“Jaiden saw the coronavirus situation as an opportunity to help people with their basic need of food,” she said.
“Approximately [three] weeks ago, Jaiden voiced his desires to me of the donations and my reaction was full of pride for my son.
“At age nine he is choosing to do invaluable work for the community off his own intent, and this shows me that he has great values and great potential for the years to come.
“It’s nice knowing that he is choosing to put other people first before his own materialistic wants. This selfless act makes myself, our family, and our community feel loved and connected.
“As of October 8, there has been a breakfast table set up by Jaiden on weekdays so that disadvantaged children can have breakfast before school weekdays between 7am and 9am.
“A substantial amount of what we are able to donate has come directly from others and we wouldn’t have had the enormous effect that we currently have, if it wasn’t for everyone’s kind hearts.”
Jaiden has a Facebook page, The Little Pantry, where people can contact him to make donations, or find out more about his initiative.