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Tiny philanthropist helps the hungry at Christmas

Charity begins at home at a young age for Chad Cardwell
2017-12-02 Chad Cardwell
Chad Cardwell, 6, is having his fourth annual Christmas Drive for the Barrie Food Bank. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

Chad Cardwell is a veteran fundraiser and he's only 6-years-old.

The delightful grade one student at Steele Street Public School has been holding a Christmas Drive for the Barrie Food Bank since he was three. 

"For moms and dads that don't have money to buy food for their kids," Chad said. "Usually everybody should have money to buy their kids food."

Chad, dad Ryan and mom Tanya Grigg along with brother James, 2, all support the initiative. 

"We started because we wanted our son at a young age to understand that not everybody has everything. We wanted him to learn from an early age to be charitable so that as he grew up it was just commonplace," explained dad Ryan Cardwell. 

Over the past three years they've collected 2,500 pounds of food.

Last year they raised $320 in cash and collected 989 pounds of food.  

"Our goal this year is to break 1,000 pounds. We were so close to hitting it last year we wanted to try again," said Ryan.

Donations can be dropped off at High Tech Tint Plus  and Dr. Adam McLeod, an optometrist on Bell Farm Rd.

This year Ryan is donating 10 cents for every pound received to the Barrie Public Library on behalf of his grandmother who recently passed away. 

The family motto for the food drive is 'help us help others' and it provides important lessons for Chad.

"It's very impactful to the community. It's awesome seeing my son be so involved. He's just so passionate. I feel very blessed to have Chad as my son and him being so driven and so kind," said Tanya. 

"In an ideal world I hope that it's positive to understand that other people do need help whether or not you see it on the surface. I try to explain to him he could actually be helping kids in his class without knowing it," he said. 

"It's the underlying things you'll never see, Those are the people we're trying to help."

"It's a busy time of the year but  I wouldn't have it any other way," adds Tanya, saying it's important to think of others in need. 

Chad concedes he's a little bit like a Santa because he delivers the food to the Food Bank.

He sums up his gratification in a word.

"Happiness. It's a very nice thing to do."

Donations for Chad's 4th annual drive will be accepted up to Dec. 17. 

Locations of the drop off centres are High Tech Tint Plus at 423 Welham Rd. and Dr. McLeod's office at 130 Bell Farm Rd.